Social information can spread fast and help animals adapt in fluctuating environments. Prospecting on the breeding sites of others, a widespread behavior, can help to maximize reproduction by, for instance, settling in the same area as other successful breeders. Previous studies have shown that successful broods have the highest number of prospectors and that they are visited most when offspring in nesting sites are already old, making the information more reliable. In this field study, we experimentally tested how prospectors are attracted to successful nest sites. We presented wild Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with different visual or acoustic cues in nest boxes, simulating the presence of small or large clutches or broods. More Zebra Finches visited experimental nests that were associated with playback recordings of begging calls of large broods (7 chicks) as opposed to begging calls of small broods (3 chicks) and controls (white noise and silence). On the other hand, visual cues (nests with different numbers of eggs or rocks), representing nests at early stages, did not influence either the probability of visits, nor number or duration of visits. We present the first evidence that begging calls of chicks in the nest, a signal intended for kin communication, can also provide social information to unrelated prospecting conspecifics. This information could potentially be used for a fast initial assessment of the quality of a breeding site.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 136 • No. 2