Agonistic and Social Behavior of Captive Redpolls

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1960
Authors:Dilger, WC
Journal:The Wilson Bulletin
Date Published:1960
ISBN Number:00435643
Keywords:Acanthis, Acanthis flammea, Carduelis flammea, Fringilla, Fringilla coelebs, Fringillidae, Loxia curvirostra
Abstract:Thirty-one captive redpolls were studied in the laboratory but only eight of them (four males and four females) were studied intensively. Their agonistic behavior was described and evaluated, and the Head Forward Threat display and its variants were found to be the chief displays indicative of varying readiness to attack. They have the usual passerine fluffed submissive posture and employ a defensive-threat display involving simultaneous submissive patterns and attack patterns. This flock of eight birds quickly developed a linear hierarchy beginning with the most dominant male and running to the least dominant female. This is similar to hierarchies found in captive Red Crossbills and Chaffinches. The least dominant male showed an unusual amount of aggression to females and this was demonstrated to be caused by redirection. Each female eventually, as the birds gradually began to behave sexually, became dominant over a particular male. This reversal of sexual dominance is known for several other species. The least dominant male was never "chosen" by a female, presumably because of his continuing history of redirected aggression. Mild starvation of a few hours increased the number of encounters but did not affect the social hierarchy. It was found that females tolerate each other at smaller distances than males tolerate each other. Heterosexual combinations were intermediate in this regard.
Short Title:The Wilson Bulletin
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith