Spatial vs. Colour cues

 

In some species, males use spatial cues (distance and direction) and feature cues (a colour or a landmark) to relocate a reward while females only use a feature cues. Maria tested whether female hummingbirds of three species use either a spatial cue (location within an array) or a feature cue (colour of the flower) to relocate a rewarded flower. First, the hummingbird had to find the single rewarded flower amongst four flowers of different colours. Upon return the spatial and feature cues were put in conflict. Male rufous hummingbirds first return to the flower at the previous correct location, but what would the females do?

Here, only the yellow flower has nectar in. The hummingbird finds this reward feeds and flies off. On its return the yellow and purple flower have switched positions. Does it go to the yellow flower (feature cue) or where the yellow flower was (spatial cue)?

Here, only the yellow flower has nectar in (Phase 1). The hummingbird finds this reward feeds and flies off. On its return the yellow and purple flowers have switched positions (Phase 2). Does it go to the yellow flower (feature cue use) or where the yellow flower was (spatial cue use)?