The use of social information has recently been documented in a wide variety of animals, with potentially diverse consequences for those living in heterogeneous landscapes. Here we review and synthesize investigations on the use of social information in heterogeneous landscapes and provide a conceptual framework for interpreting the role social information plays for birds living in human-modified landscapes. Our framework emphasizes the spatial components of the availability and value of social information and how landscape change can alter the availability and perceived value of social information to individuals. As an example of the utility of an information-based perspective, we discuss investigations of habitat use by the Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) in agricultural landscapes. Overall, work to date provides unique insight into the importance of social-information use at large scales but also underscores that much uncertainty remains regarding the role of social information in driving distributions and dynamics across landscapes.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2