Navigation Links
Bird-brained? Birds' personalities are correlated with their hormone levels
Date:11/29/2010

The Great Tit is a common garden bird of many countries in Europe and Asia. Great Tits are generally thought of as fairly inquisitive but it has long been known individuals vary considerably in their willingness to explore new surroundings. Some birds known as "fast" or "proactive" are quick explorers and are comparatively aggressive, whereas "slow" or "reactive" birds are more cautious. The differences are at least in part genetically determined and as a result scientists in Holland, with whom the Vienna group has been collaborating closely, have been able to use this behavioural trait as a basis for selecting lines over several generations.

Stwe measured the breakdown products of glucocorticoid hormones in the droppings of great tit nestlings of both "fast" and "slow" lines. She found that slow nestlings excreted more glucocorticoids than "fast" ones. She also notived that subjecting nestlings to stress caused an increase in the amounts of glucocorticoids they excreted. The rise was far more dramatic in fast nestlings than in slow ones, showing that the more proactive birds respond more intensely to stress than less curious individuals.

Stwe's results indicate for the first time that birds that have been genetically selected on the basis of their levels of curiosity show pronounced differences both in their baseline levels of stress hormones and in their reactions to stress. Interestingly, these factors are known to be important indicators of the young birds' future survival and the novel findings would suggest that the "fast" birds might have certain advantages over slower individuals. Clearly, however, environmental factors are also important in determining survival and there must be circumstances that favour less inquisitive birds: when a large number of predators are around, fortune may no longer favour the bold. Variation in the behaviour of the "bird-brained" Great Tit is presumably important in helping the species cope with a range of different conditions.

Because higher glucocorticoids are thought to be associated with more intense begging activity, Stwe also examined the begging behaviour of the "fast" and "slow" nestlings. She found no differences between the lines but did observe an interesting difference between the sexes, with male nestlings begging significantly more often than females. Intriguingly, the difference disappeared when the birds were stressed. As Stwe says, "male nestlings beg more to ensure they obtain enough food to meet their higher nutritional needs. But when they are frightened they are much less forward and actually behave just like female nestlings."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr Mareike Stoewe
mareike.stoewe@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-664-454-1904
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Captain Birdseyes robotic nose
2. Beavers: Dam good for songbirds
3. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
4. Practice as well as sleep may help birds learn new songs
5. The birds of Spain, in a digital ornithological encyclopedia
6. Shade coffee benefits more than birds
7. Birds in Flint Hills of Kansas, Oklahoma face population decline despite large habitat
8. Climate change affecting Europes birds now, say researchers
9. Female birds jam their mates flirtatious songs
10. Its for the birds
11. CCNY, CSHL biologists find birdsong of isolates reverts to norm over several generations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/4/2017)... LAS VEGAS , Jan. 4, 2017  For the thousands of ... , a global leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and ... pressure monitors. On display in A&D Medical,s special CES ... monitors represent the ongoing expansion of the company,s WellnessConnected product ... ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... -- The rising popularity of mobility services such ... significant interest in keyless access systems. Following the ... (BLE), biometrics and near-field communication (NFC) are poised ... technologies in the automotive industry. This evolution from ... opens the market to specialist companies such as ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 16, 2016 The global ... reach USD 12.14 billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in ... ... market is mainly driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch ... devices, rising preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... and GAITHERSBURG, Md. ... MKT: PIP) and Altimmune, Inc., a privately-held immunotherapeutics ... of a definitive agreement for the merger of ... current investors include Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle ... be a fully-integrated and diversified immunotherapeutics company with ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... FireflySci Inc. is a go-getter type ... tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. The first is the amazing ... of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the world. , 2016 was a tremendous ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... N.J. , Jan. 18, 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson ... company, announced today that it will host a live webcast of ... 1 p.m. (ET). The webcast can be accessed ... available for replay through Tuesday, January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017   Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) , ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne) , today announced a $600,000 ... of Technology (NJIT) and Talem Technologies (Talem) as part ... to assist people living with Duchenne. PPMD is ... an embedded computer, software, a force sensor and a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: