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Learning differences between feral pigeons and zenaida doves: the role of neophobia and human proximity

journal contribution
posted on 2001-04-01, 00:00 authored by A Seferta, Patrick GuayPatrick Guay, E Marzinotto, L Lefebvre
Learning differences predicted from ecological variables can be confounded with differences in wariness of novel stimuli (neophobia). Previous work on feral pigeons (Columba livia), as well as on group-feeding and territorial zenaida doves (Zenaida aurita), reported individual and social learning differences predicted from social foraging mode. In the present study, we show that speed of learning a foraging task covaries with neophobia and latency to feed from a familiar dish in the three types of columbids. Pigeons were much faster than either territorial or group-feeding zenaida doves on all tests conducted in captivity, but showed unexpectedly strong neophobia in some urban flocks during field tests. Human proximity strongly affected performance in group-feeding doves both in the field and in captivity. They were slightly faster at learning than their territorial conspecifics in cage tests. In multiple regressions, species identity, but not social foraging mode, significantly predicted individual variation in learning, as did individual variation in neophobia. Wariness of novel stimuli and species differences associated with artificial selection appear to be more important than foraging mode and wariness of humans in accounting for learning differences between these columbids.

History

Journal

Ethology

Volume

107

Issue

4

Pagination

281 - 293

Publisher

Blackwell Wissenschafts-Verlag

Location

Berlin, Germany

ISSN

0179-1613

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2001, Blackwell Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin