Rescue behaviour in a social bird: Removal of sticky 'bird-catcher tree' seeds by group members

Hammers, Martijn, and Brouwer, Lyanne (2017) Rescue behaviour in a social bird: Removal of sticky 'bird-catcher tree' seeds by group members. Behaviour, 154 (4). pp. 403-411.

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Rescue behaviour is a special form of cooperation in which a rescuer exhibits behaviours directed towards averting a threat to an endangered individual, thereby potentially putting itself at risk. Although rescue behaviour has been well-documented in experimental studies on rats and ants, published cases in other non-human animals are rare. Here, we report observations of rescue behaviour in the cooperatively breeding Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis). In this species, individuals sometimes become entangled in seed clusters of 'bird-catcher trees' (Pisonia grandis). Just one or a few of these sticky seeds can prevent Seychelles warblers to fly and may lead to mortality. In four cases, individuals were observed displaying behaviour aimed at removing sticky seeds from the feathers of an entangled individual belonging to their group. Intriguingly, the rescuing individuals engaged in this behaviour despite potentially risking entanglement. To our knowledge, this is the first recorded case of rescue behaviour in birds.

Item ID: 71432
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1568-539X
Keywords: Acrocephalus sechellensis, cooperative breeding, Pisonia grandis, reciprocity, rescue behaviour
Copyright Information: © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2017
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DECRA fellowship (DE130100174)
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 02:29
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 80%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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