Social Learning in Birds

Researchers have investigated how different bird species learn from each other.

In an earlier study with great tits, researchers at the University of Cambridge (GB) showed that the birds learn from their own experiences and those of their conspecifics. “We found that when one bird sees another being repelled by a new type of prey, both birds avoid it in the future,” explains zoologist Rose Thorogood.

Now she and her colleagues have investigated whether birds of different species also learn from each other in this way. The focus was again on the great tit – and the no less well-known blue tit.

The research team filmed tremendous blue tits opening a sachet of almonds dipped in a bitter substance and then tasting them. The reaction of disgust – throwing away the bag and cleaning the beak – followed immediately. These instructional videos were shown to the birds. Some great tits observed a conspecific reaction with disgust, while others observed a blue tit and vice versa. The conclusion: In contrast to a control group, all instructional video birds avoided the bitter almonds. They had learned from conspecifics as well as from alien birds.

Frequently Asked Question

What do birds think?

Birds have amazing cognitive abilities: tool use, causal reasoning, and numerical skills. We know how it is when ravens drop walnuts on the street in the fall and wait for a car to run them over and crack them for them.

Which birds are social?

Gray Thrushes communicate in a sophisticated way – because they live socially. The Gray Thrushes do nothing else. This is the conclusion reached by the multidisciplinary team of ornithologists, primatologists, and psychologists.

How do birds talk?

Calls are called the chirping that you hear all year round. “These tones sound very simple. The birds use these calls to converse (contact calls) or to warn each other of danger (warning calls). During the breeding season in spring, however, the songs of birds can be heard.

How to understand birds?

Learn to tell the difference between a bird feeling good and being scared. Birds in a harmonious mood sing, preen, fight with fellow birds, beg for food, and rest. You should sit up and take notice when a bird gives off fear and alarm calls. They warn of aerial enemies with high, shrill calls.

What is a culture bird?

Some bird species are considered cultural followers because they follow humans into their habitats. The skylark is also a “culture bird” in the literal sense, as it has made it into numerous works of poetry with its song.

How long does a bird sleep?

Although all sleep patterns also occur when sleeping on land, the animals in the air only snooze for three-quarters of an hour a day. On land, on the other hand, they sleep for more than twelve hours. It is still a mystery how the birds adapt their performance to this lack of sleep without any problems.

Are sparrows social?

Sparrows are diurnal and very sociable animals. They get together in small groups to feed and they usually spend the night together with their fellow species in hedges or green roofs. Many behaviors are geared towards life in a group and a common daily routine.

What are the tamest birds?

Budgies are among the most popular birds to keep as pets. They are therefore good for children as they become tame quickly. Budgerigars are sociable animals and, after a short period of acclimatization, seek contact with humans.

Which birds like to cuddle?

Some birds, such as parrots, budgerigars, and parakeets, are known to enjoy being around people a lot.

Which bird is best for children?

They are small, colorful, do little work in everyday life, and do not cost a lot of money either to buy or to keep. In addition, you can store budgerigars in a space-saving manner and easily give them to relatives for care during the holiday season. So, budgies make the perfect pets for kids!


Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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