Have we met before? Pigeons recognise familiar human faces

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Abstract:

Despite growing evidence for the recognition of conspecifics, studies on heterospecific recognition are still scarce. There is some evidence that birds living in urban habitats are able to distinguish between specific humans, depending on their previous experience with them. Nonetheless, the features by which the birds actually discriminated among humans remain unclear. This study investigated whether pigeons are capable of performing such a sophisticated categorisation and the features relevant to making this discrimination. The results revealed that pigeons are able to discriminate reliably between familiar and unfamiliar humans and provide evidence that facial features are important for this recognition. Furthermore, our results suggest that the ability to discriminate between individual heterospecifics is not restricted to bird species that are considered highly cognitive.
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  • Avian Biology Research, formerly Avian & Poultry Biology Reviews, has adopted a new and exciting vision for publication of ornithological research in the 21st Century.

    This vision is based on two main concepts. First, the topics published by the journal will cover all aspects of ornithology. This will provide a forum for scientists to publish their work in a journal that will have a broad appeal. Second, the scope of the journal will expand to include reports of original research, letters, perspectives, news, diary and book reviews in addition to reviews. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Mary Ann Ottinger; Tom Pike; Anna Wilkinson; Dale Sandercock

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