Crows cross-modally recognize group members but not non-group members

Noriko Kondo, Ei Ichi Izawa, Shigeru Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Recognizing other individuals by integrating different sensory modalities is a crucial ability of social animals, including humans. Although cross-modal individual recognition has been demonstrated in mammals, the extent of its use by birds remains unknown. Herein, we report the first evidence of cross-modal recognition of group members by a highly social bird, the large-billed crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). A cross-modal expectancy violation paradigm was used to test whether crows were sensitive to identity congruence between visual presentation of a group member and the subsequent playback of a contact call. Crows looked more rapidly and for a longer duration when the visual and auditory stimuli were incongruent than when congruent. Moreover, these responses were not observed with non-group member stimuli. These results indicate that crows spontaneously associate visual and auditory information of group members but not of non-group members, which is a demonstration of cross-modal audiovisual recognition of group members in birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1942
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1735
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 22


  • Cross-modal
  • Expectancy violation
  • Individual recognition
  • Social classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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