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Social Facilitation in the Bengalese Finch

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Observations of paired male Bengalese finches showed that preening, feeding, beak-wiping, and drinking behaviour tended to be synchronised. There was also a strong tendency for one individual to sing whenever its companion began to feed. No synchrony of singing was found. Experiments were designed to induce specific behaviour patterns in one individual in order to record the subsequent behaviour of the companion. Locomotion was found to increase when the locomotion of the companion was raised. Manipulation of nest-material and singing were hoth increased when the companion was manipulating nest-material. When the companion was induced to feed, singing increased but not feeding. Preening, feather-shaking and beak-wiping were not affected by their performance by the companion. The relevance of these effects to the social life of the species is discussed, and it is suggested that the occurrence of song in response to the companion's feeding might serve a contact-promoting function. An explanation is proposed for the failure to induce social facilitation of feeding in the experimental situation.

Affiliations: 1: (School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.

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