University of Oulu

Morinay, J., Forsman, J. T., Germain, M., & Doligez, B. (2020). Behavioural traits modulate the use of heterospecific social information for nest site selection: experimental evidence from a wild bird population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1925), 20200265.

Behavioural traits modulate the use of heterospecific social information for nest site selection : experimental evidence from a wild bird population

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Author: Morinay, Jennifer1,2; Forsman, Jukka T.3,4; Germain, Marion1,2,5;
Organizations: 1Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive UMR 5558, Université de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, CNRS, Villeurbanne, France
2Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
3Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke, Oulu),Oulu, Finland
5Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: The Royal Society, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-11


The use of social information for making decisions is common but can be constrained by behavioural traits via, for example, the ability to gather information. Such constrained information use has been described in foraging habitat selection; yet it remains unexplored in the breeding habitat selection context, despite potentially strong fitness consequences. We experimentally tested whether three behavioural traits (aggressiveness, boldness and neophobia) affected the use of heterospecific social information for nest site selection in wild collared flycatchers Ficedula albicollis. Flycatchers have previously been found to copy or reject an artificial apparent preference of tits (their main competitors) for a nest site feature: they preferred nest-boxes with the same or a different feature, depending on tit early reproductive investment. Here, we confirmed this result and showed that shy individuals and less aggressive old males (i.e. 2 years old or older) copied tit apparent preference, while more aggressive old males rejected the tit preference. Aggressiveness and boldness may allow males to access more information sources or affect males’ interactions with dominant tits when selecting a nest site. Our study highlights the links between variation in behaviours and social information use for breeding habitat selection and calls for further work to explore underlying mechanisms.

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Series: Proceedings of the Royal Society. B, Biological sciences
ISSN: 0962-8452
ISSN-E: 1471-2954
ISSN-L: 0962-8452
Volume: 287
Issue: 1925
Article number: 20200265
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0265
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was funded by the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche and the Department of Ecology and Genetics from Uppsala University (PhD grants to J.M. and M.G.), by research grants from Uppsala University (Stiftelsen för Zoologisk Forskning to J.M. and M.G.), by the Région Auvergne Rhone-Alpes (Explora’Doc grants to J.M.) and by the University of Lyon (IDEX mobility grant to J.M.). J.T.F. was funded by the Kone Foundation, and B.D. by the Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique and the Région Auvergne Rhone-Alpes (CIBLE programme).
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. The final authenticated version is available online at