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Agonistic Behavior in Captive Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Pheucticus Ludoviciaivus (L.)

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1. Agonistic behavior in captive Rose-breasted Grosbeaks generally resembles that of other "finches" which have been studied, but differs in detail. For example the wings are typically flicked, flashing the colored under wing coverts, rather than raised or quivered; head thrusting and bill snapping were not seen; tail-spreading is uncommon. 2. Predictability of action subsequent to behavior elements is generally poor. 3. At least four elements are, however, accompanied by a change in the predictability of subsequent action, and are considered indicators of change in motivation. 4. Two-factor combinations of elements with opposite predominant tendencies (attack and escape) have an increased probability of being followed by "staying in place" over the component elements when given separately. It is argued that this may be the result of conflict between attack and escape. 5. At least two of four elements tested have signal value in that their occurrence correlates with a change in the probability of the reactor's response. One of two elements tested modifies the signal value of a third element when they occur together.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., U.S.A.


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