Dominance-related foraging in female domesticated canaries under laboratory conditions

Authors: Nagle, L; Parisot, M; Vallet, E; Kreutzer, M

Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 82, Number 8, August 2004 , pp. 1246-1250(5)

Publisher: NRC Research Press

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Abstract:

Many experiments have tested the foraging behaviours of birds relative to their social status. However, results are still not completely clear about the relationship between foraging behaviour and social status in birds. Some studies have shown that dominants use subordinates as food finders, while others show the opposite. Whether dominants search by themselves or wait to exploit the findings of a subordinate is still an unanswered question. For testing these alternative hypotheses, we carried out a laboratory experiment that used female common domesticated canaries, Serinus canaria (L., 1758). We used strict female flocks to avoid any bias based on pair bonds. We looked at the foraging behaviours of females relative to their social status using a foraging board. Our results showed that dominant females behaved as their own food finder. They began searching in the first position and had greater re-search behaviours, which allowed them to find seeds more rapidly than subordinates. Our study showed that foraging behaviour of dominants may be independent of the activities of subordinates. Our results also showed that there was no difference between the number of attacks received by dominants and subordinates when they were on the foraging board, which suggests that subordinates accessed the foraging board less frequently to avoid competition with dominants. We also suggest that environmental conditions may be one explanation for the differences observed among the different studies.

De nombreuses expériences ont testé les comportements de recherche alimentaire des oiseaux en fonction de leur statut social. Malgré cela, les résultats sur la relation entre le comportement alimentaire et le statut social ne sont toujours pas complètement clairs. Certaines études montrent que les dominants utilisent les subordonnés pour trouver leur nourriture et d'autres prouvent le contraire. Les dominants exploitent-ils les découvertes des dominés ou cherchent-ils par eux-mêmes, cela reste une question ouverte. Afin de tester ces deux hypothèses, nous avons étudié en laboratoire sur des arènes expérimentales les comportements de recherche de nourriture en fonction du statut social, chez des canaris domestiques, Serinus canaria (L., 1758), femelles. Seules des femelles ont été testées pour éviter tout biais lié aux liens mâle-femelles. Nos résultats montrent que les femelles dominantes cherchent par elles-mêmes. Elles arrivent les premières et présentent plus de comportements exploratoires. Cela leur permet d'accéder aux graines plus rapidement que les subordonnées. Notre étude montre que le comportement de recherche alimentaire des dominantes peut être indépendant de celui des subordonnées. Parce que ces dernières ne sont pas plus attaquées que les dominantes, nous suggérons qu'elles sont moins présentes sur notre dispositif expérimental pour éviter toute compétition avec les dominantes. En dernier lieu, nous pensons que les conditions environnementales pourraient être en partie à l'origine des différences retrouvées dans les diverses études.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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