University of Oulu

Jaakkonen T, Kari A, Forsman JT (2013) Flycatchers Copy Conspecifics in Nest-Site Selection but Neither Personal Experience nor Frequency of Tutors Have an Effect. PLoS ONE 8(3): e60395. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060395

Flycatchers copy conspecifics in nest-site selection but neither personal experience nor frequency of tutors have an effect

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Author: Jaakkonen, Tuomo1; Kari, Annemari1; Forsman, Jukka T.1
Organizations: 1Department of Biology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2013
Publish Date: 2016-09-08


Using the behavior of others in guiding one’s own behavior is a common strategy in animals. The prevailing theory predicts that young age and the inexperience of an individual are expected to increase the probability of adopting the behaviors of others. Also, the most common behavior in the population should be copied. Here, we tested the above predictions by examining social information use in the selection of nest-site features with a field experiment using a wild cavity nesting bird, the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). We used an experimental design in which geometric symbols depict nestsite features. By manipulating the apparent symbol choices of early settled individuals and monitoring the choices of later arriving birds, we can study social information use without bias from learned or innate preferences. Flycatchers were found to use social information in the selection of nest-site features, with about 60% of the population preferring the manipulated conspecific choices. However, age and experience as explanatory factors suggested by the social information use theory did not explain the choices. The present result, in concert with earlier similar experiments, implies that flycatchers may in some situations rely more on interspecific information in the selection of nest-site characteristics.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
Article number: e60395
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060395
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was funded by the Academy of Finland (project numbers 122665 and 125720) and Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation (May 2011, May 2012). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 122665
Detailed Information: 122665 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
125720 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: Copyright: © 2013 Jaakkonen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.