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Corpus Systématique Animale

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A comparison of the social organization of three syntopic species of Australian thornbill, Acanthiza

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  • Harry L. Bell 1
  • Hugh A. Ford 1
  • 1) Department of Zoology, University of New England, 2351, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Brown (Acanthiza pusilla), buff-rumped (A. reguloides) and striated thronbills (A. lineata) were studied over three years in eucalypt forest in northern New South Wales. All three are small, sexually monomorphic insectivores. A. pusilla is a shrub-feeder, reguloides a bark and ground forager and lineata gleans from eucalypt leaves. A. reguloides and lineata show a two-tiered social organization with territorial clans in the non-breeding season which split up into breeding pairs or groups of 3 or 4. Non-breeding birds feed nestlings and fledglings, and after reformation of the clan adults feed fledglings belonging to other groups. Females tend to disperse more than males before the next breeding season, males tend to stay and help. A. pusilla breeds in pairs, with no helpers, defends year-round territories and expels juveniles a few months after they fledge. We discuss possible reasons why A. pusilla is not cooperative whereas the other two species are. It seems not to be due to greater adult survival and habitat saturation in the latter two, nor to reduced seasonal fluctuations in food. We propose that a major factor is the low risk of dispersing relative to staying at home in pusilla compared with the other two species.

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  • 1 - health sciences
  • 2 - psychology & cognitive sciences
  • 3 - behavioral science & comparative psychology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - ethologie animale
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Animal Science and Zoology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - zoology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - behavioral sciences
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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

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