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19 March 2014 Information acquisition during migration: A social perspective
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Information can enhance fitness, and the ways in which organisms acquire and use information are of heightened interest in ecological studies today. Migratory birds, as long-distance travelers of the globe, depend on rapid access to accurate information and thus provide particularly interesting study subjects for cognitive ecology. Yet, questions regarding how migratory birds collect information and make decisions en route remain to be answered. Here, we review the current status of this field of study and focus our attention on social learning (broadly defined as the use of inadvertently produced social information) as an important cognitive mechanism that can operate across taxonomic boundaries. We argue that social learning is critical to accelerate resource acquisition while reducing risks and uncertainties during migration. We put forward eight testable predictions in relation to when increased use of social information might be expected. Finally, we argue that migrant communities at stopover sites may serve as additional sources of information where transient associations with others may have important and long-lasting benefits.

Zoltán Németh and Frank R. Moore "Information acquisition during migration: A social perspective," The Auk 131(2), 186-194, (19 March 2014).
Received: 16 December 2013; Accepted: 1 January 2014; Published: 19 March 2014

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