Research press release


Nature Ecology & Evolution

Personality is key for love birds



Josh Firthたちは、3年間にわたって英国オックスフォード近郊の森林に生息するシジュウカラ(Parus major)の社会的ネットワーク関係を追跡した。その森林で捕獲した全ての鳥には個体識別用のマイクロチップを装着し、群れの中で絶えず関係し合う個々を追跡した。その上で、標準化された「個性」検査を行い、これらの個体が新たな環境の探索にどれだけ積極的であるか、すなわちどれだけ大胆であるかを調べた。


Male birds with bolder personalities who more proactively explore new environments form stronger attachments with females before they mate, reports a study published online this week in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This finding suggests that differences in the behaviour of individuals could influence the structure and dynamics of animal social networks.

Around 90% of bird species form socially monogamous pairs, with longer-lasting relationships shown to be associated with increased reproductive outputs. However, the factors that influence the formation of these bonds are less well understood.

Josh Firth and colleagues tracked the social network associations of great tits in a wood near Oxford, England, over three years. Every bird captured in the wood was fitted with an identifying microchip to track individuals that consistently associated with each other in flocks. They then underwent a standardised ‘personality’ test to see how proactive, or bold, those individuals are in exploring new environments.

Analysing the social network associations of these birds over time as the mating season approached, the authors find that more proactive males met their future partners sooner and developed stronger network associations with their mates at a faster rate than the less bold males. However, they find that the strength of pair-bonds is unrelated to personality in female birds.

doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0670-8

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