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Observational Learning in Birds: the Establishment of Behavioral Modes

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image of Behaviour

In the greenfinch, Chloris chloris, single birds can learn a food discrimination task more rapidly than pairs of birds, though fewer of the latter are fearful of approaching the discriminanda. This behaviour can fail to be maladaptive only in species with relatively conservative food habits, or of a solitary nature. In the more inquisitive and exploitative great tit, on the other hand, the birds suffered no disadvantage when trained in pairs. Thus, additional evidence is provided to support the view that species characteristic behaviour may be determined by imitative processes and the establishment of traditions, as well as by innate differences in structure and behaviour.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, U.S.A.


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