Seasonal variation in hippocampal volume in a food-storing bird, the black-capped chickadee

J Neurobiol. 1995 May;27(1):15-25. doi: 10.1002/neu.480270103.


Black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus) in upstate New York show a peak in food-hoarding intensity in October. We caught chickadees at six different times of the year and measured the volume of several brain structures. We found that the hippocampal formation, which is involved in spatial memory for cached food items, has a larger volume, relative to the rest of the brain, in October than at any other time of the year. We conclude that there is an association between the intensity of food hoarding and the volume of the hippocampal formation and suggest that the enhanced anatomy might be caused by the increased use of spatial memory.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Animals
  • Birds / growth & development*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Seasons*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Telencephalon / growth & development