Context-dependent visual preferences in starlings and blue tits: mate choice and light environment

Maddocks, Sam A., Bennett, Andrew T. D., Hunt, Sarah and Cuthill, Innes C. 2002, Context-dependent visual preferences in starlings and blue tits: mate choice and light environment, Animal behaviour, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 69-75.


Title Context-dependent visual preferences in starlings and blue tits: mate choice and light environment
Author(s) Maddocks, Sam A.
Bennett, Andrew T. D.
Hunt, Sarah
Cuthill, Innes C.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 63
Issue number 1
Start page 69
End page 75
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2002-01
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Summary There is considerable interest in the role that ultraviolet (UV) cues play in the foraging and mate choice decisions of birds. However, with the exception of the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, it is not yet clear whether ultraviolet preferences are context specific, or whether birds show a general preference for full-avian-spectrum environments 320-700 nm) irrespective of the activity in which they are engaged. We investigated whether European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, and blue tits, Parus caeruleus, show general (nonresource based) or context-specific preferences for full-spectrum environments. We found that neither species showed a general preference for UV-present (UV+) over UV-deficient (UV-) environments, when those environments contained no resources (experiment 1). Furthermore, neither species showed a UV+ preference when cages contained food, water and perches (starlings; experiment 2) or food, perches and heterospecifics (blue tits; Hunt et al. 1999. Animal Behaviour, 58, 809-815). However, both species did show highly significant preferences for UV+ conditions when viewing potential mates. Such experiments are necessary before one can conclude that particular wavebands have specific relevance to mate choice. In fact, our results suggest that the importance of particular wavelength compositions do indeed vary with behavioural context. (C) 2002 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022786

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