Advertisement

Inter-individual and age differences in exploration, neophobia and problem-solving ability in a Neotropical raptor (Milvago chimango)

Abstract

Animal innovations have far-reaching ecological and evolutionary consequences. The occurrence and persistence of an innovation require several processes, including exploration, social and asocial learning, and low neophobia. In addition, the identity of the innovator may determine how these new behaviours are socially transmitted. Taking into account inter-individual and age differences, we investigated three correlates of animal innovation: object exploration, neophobia level and novel problem-solving ability in an opportunistic generalist raptor, the Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango). Eighteen individuals (7 adults and 11 juveniles) were caught during the non-breeding period and housed in individual cages in outdoor aviaries. Each bird was given three tests: exploration, neophobia and problem-solving. Individuals differed in their response to novel situations both within and between age groups. Most of the juveniles were more explorative and had a lower neophobic response to a strange object than adult birds, but both age groups were able to solve a novel problem when given a food reward. In juveniles, neophobia level and problem-solving performance were inversely related; however, we found no relationship between these behaviours in adults. Exploration did not correlate with neophobia or problem-solving ability for either age group. This research is one of the few studies exploring the inter-individual and age differences in behavioural innovation and their correlates in a bird of prey. The explorative tendency, low neophobia and ability to innovate showed by M. chimango may be advantageous for this generalist and opportunistic raptor and might be some of the factors underlying its ecological success.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Aprile G, Bertonatti C (1996) Manual sobre rehabilitación de fauna. Bol.Téc. FVSA (Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina), Buenos Aires, Argentina

  2. Beissinger SR, Donnay TJ, Walton R (1994) Experimental analysis of diet specialization in the snail kite: the role of behaviorial conservatism. Oecologia 100:54–65

  3. Biondi LM, Bó MS, Favero M (2005) Dieta del chimango (Milvago chimango) durante el periodo reproductivo en el sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ornitol Neotrop 16:31–42

  4. Biondi LM, Bó MS, Vassallo AI (2008) Experimental assessment of problem solving in Milvago chimango (Aves: Falconiformes). J Ethol 26:113–118

  5. Bloom PH (1987) Capturing and handling raptors. In: Giron Pendleton BA, Millsap BA, Cline KW, Bird DMV (eds) Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, pp 99–123

  6. Boogert NJ, Reader SM, Laland KN (2006) The relation between social rank, neophobia and individual learning in starlings. Anim Behav 72:1229–1239

  7. Boogert NJ, Reader SM, Hoppitt W, Laland KN (2008) The origin and spread o innovation in starlings. Anim Behav 75:1509–1518

  8. Bouchard J, Goodyer W, Lefebvre L (2007) Social learning and innovation are positively correlated in pigeons (Columba livia). Anim Cogn. doi 10.1007/s10071-006-0064-1

  9. Cabezas VM, Schlatter RP (1987) Hábitos y comportamiento alimentario de Milvago chimango Vieillot, 1816 (Aves, Falconidae). An Mus Hist Nat Valp 18:131–141

  10. Dingemanse NJ, Both C, Drent PJ, van Oers K, van Noordwijk AJ (2002) Repeatability and heritability of exploratory behaviour in great tits from the wild. Anim Behav 64:929–937

  11. Drent PJ, van Oers K, van Noordwijk AJ (2003) Realised heritability of personalities in the great tit (Parus major). Proc R Soc Lond B 270:45–51

  12. Echeverría AI, Vassallo AI (2008) Novelty responses in a bird assemblage inhabiting an urban area. Ethology 114:616–624

  13. Echeverria AI, Vassallo AI, Isacch JP (2006) Experimental analysis of novelty responses in a bird assemblage inhabiting a suburban marsh. Can J Zool 84:974–980

  14. Ferguson-Lees J, Christie DA (2001) Raptors of the world. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston

  15. Fidler AE, van Oers K, Drent PJ, Kuhn S, Mueller JC, Kempenaers B (2007) Drd4 gene polymorphisms are associated with personality variation in a passerine bird. Proc Roy Soc Lond B 274:1685–1691

  16. Fraga RM, Salvador SA (1986) Biología reproductiva del chimango (Polyborus chimango). El Hornero 12:223–229

  17. Gajdon GK (2007) Knowing psychological disposition might help to find innovation. Behav Brain Sci 30:409–410

  18. Gajdon GK, Fijn N, Huber L (2006) Limited spread of innovation in a wild parrot, the Kea (Nestor notabilis). Anim Cogn 9:173–181. doi:10.1007/s10071-006-0018-7

  19. Greenberg R (1983) The role of neophobia in determining the degree of foraging specialization in some migrant warblers. Am Nat 122:444–453

  20. Greenberg R (1984) Differences in feeding neophobia in the tropical migrant wood warblers Dendroica castanea and D. pensylvanica. J Comp Psychol 98:131–136

  21. Greenberg R (2003) The role of neophobia and neophilia in the development of innovative behaviour of birds. In: Reader SM, Laland KN (eds) Animal Innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 175–196

  22. Greenberg R, Mettke-Hofmann C (2001) Ecological aspects of neophobia and neophilia in birds. Curr Ornithol 16:119–178

  23. Heinrich B (1995) Neophilia and exploration in juvenile common ravens, Corvus corax. Anim Behav 50:695–704

  24. Huber L, Gajdon GK (2006) Technical intelligence in animals: the Kea model. Anim Cogn 9:295–305. doi:10.1007/s10071-006-0033-8

  25. Katzir G (1982a) Relationship between social structure and response to novelty in captive jackdaws. Corvus monedula L., I. Response to novel space. Behaviour 81:231–264

  26. Katzir G (1982b) Relationship between social structure and response to novelty in captive jackdaws. Corvus monedula L., II. Response to novel palatable food. Behaviour 81:183–208

  27. Kendal RL, Coe RL, Laland KN (2005) Age differences in neophilia, exploration, and innovation in family groups of Callitrichid monkeys. Am J Primatol 66:167–188

  28. Kummer H, Goodall J (1985) Conditions of innovative behaviour in primates. Phil Trans R Soc Lond Ser B 308:203–214

  29. Laland KN, Reader SM (1999a) Foraging innovation in the guppy. Anim Behav 57:331–340

  30. Laland KN, Reader SM (1999b) Foraging innovation is inversely related to competitive ability in male but not in female guppies. Behav Ecol 10:270–274

  31. Lefebvre L, Bolhuis J (2003) Positive and negative correlates of feeding innovation in birds. In: Reader SM, Laland KN (eds) Animal innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 39–61

  32. Lefebvre L, Whittle P, Lascaris E, Finkelstein A (1997) Feeding innovation and forebrain size in birds. Anim Behav 53:549–560

  33. Lefebvre L, Gaxiola A, Dawson S, Timmermans S, Rozsa L, Kabai P (1998) Feeding innovations and forebrain size in Australasian birds. Behaviour 135:1077–1097

  34. Lefebvre L, Juretic N, Nicolakakis N, Timmermans S (2001) Is the link between forebrain size and feeding innovations caused by confounding variables? A study of Australian and North America birds. Anim Cogn 4:91–97

  35. Mettke-Hofmann C, Winkler H, Leisler B (2002) The significance of ecological factors for exploration and neophobia in parrots. Ethology 108:249–272

  36. Mettke-Hofmann C, Ebert C, Schmidt T, Steiger S, Stieb S (2005a) Personality traits in resident and migratory warbler species. Behaviour 142:1357–1375

  37. Mettke-Hofmann C, Wink M, Winkler H, Leisler B (2005b) Exploration of environmental changes relates to lifestyle. Behav Ecol 16:247–254

  38. Mettke-Hofmann C, Rowe KC, Hayden TJ, Canoine V (2006) Effects of experience and object complexity on exploration in garden warblers (Sylia Borin). J Zoo 286:405–413

  39. Morrison JL, Phillips LM (2000) Nesting habitat and success of the chimango caracara in southern Chile. Wilson Bull 112:225–232

  40. Negro JJ, Bustamante J, Milward J, Bird D (1996) Captive fledging American kestrel prefers to play with objects resembling natural prey. Anim Behav 52:707–714

  41. Newton I (1979) Population ecology of raptors. T & D Poyser, London

  42. Nicolakakis N, Lefebvre L (2000) Forebrain size and innovation rate in European birds: feeding, nesting and confounding variables. Behaviour 137:1415–1429

  43. Nicolakakis N, Sol D, Lefebvre L (2003) Behavioural flexibility predicts species richness in birds, but not extinction risk. Anim Behav 65:445–452

  44. Overington SE, Cauchard L, Morand-Ferron J, Lefebvre L (2009) Innovation in groups: does the proximity of others facilitate or inhibit performance? Behaviour 146:1543–1564

  45. Pfeffer K, Fritz J, Kotrschal K (2002) Hormonal correlates of being an innovative graylag goose, Anser anser. Anim Behav 63:687–695

  46. Ramsey G, Bastian ML, van Schaik C (2007) Animal innovation defined and operationalized. Behav Brain Sci 30:393–437

  47. Reader SM (2003) Innovation and social learning: individual variation and brain evolution. Anim Biol 53:147–158

  48. Reader SM, Laland KN (2001) Primate innovation: sex, age and social rank differences. Int J Primatol 22:787–805

  49. Reader SM, Laland KN (2003) Animal innovation: an introduction. In: Reader SM, Laland KN (eds) Animal innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 3–35

  50. Russell PA (1973) Relationship between exploratory behaviour and fear: a review. Br J Psychology 64:417–433

  51. Schaden G (1993) Exploration and neophobia in captive Barn Owls (Tyto alba guttata). Egretta 36:67–77

  52. Schwagmeyer PL (1995) Searching today for tomorrow’s mates. Anim Behav 50:759–767

  53. Sol D (2003) Behavioural innovation: a neglected issue in the ecological and evolutionary literature? In: Reader SM, Laland KN (eds) Animal innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 63–82

  54. van Oers K, Drent PJ, de Goede P, van Noordwijk AJ (2004) Realized heritability and repeatability of risk-taking behaviour in relation to avian personalities. Proc Roy Soc Lond B 271:65–73

  55. Webster SJ, Lefebvre L (2001) Problem solving and neophobia in a columbiform–passeriform assemblage in Barbados. Anim Behav 62:23–32

  56. White CM, Olsen PD, Cliff LF (1994) New World vultures to Guineafowl. In: Del Hoyo J, Elliot A, Sargalat J (eds) Handbook of the birds of the world 2. Lynx Editions, Barcelona, pp 216–247

  57. Wyles JS, Kunkel JG, Wilson AC (1983) Birds, behavior and anatomical evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci 80:4394–4397

Download references

Acknowledgments

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Laura Mauco, German Garcia and Ramiro Rodriguez for helping in capturing and managing the raptors and to Natalia Fleitas for taking care of the birds in the zoo. We are grateful to Susana Rosso and Jorge Sanchez for their permission to capture birds in their properties. Juan Pablo Issach and four anonymous reviewers made helpful suggestions on the manuscript. We appreciate the improvements in English usage made by C. Riehl through the Association of Field Ornithologists’ program of editorial assistance and by Liliana Bordoni, Nicolas Lois and Christina Stagnaro. This work was conducted with funds provided by the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Conicet and PICT 12507. The authors adhered to guidelines for the use of animals in research and to the legal requirements of our country. We had permission to capture and manipulate Milvago chimango: Nº 96 Exp. 22228-100, Dirección Contralor y Uso de Recursos Naturales y Pesqueros, Ministerio de Asuntos Agrarios de la Provincia de Buenos Aires.

Author information

Correspondence to Laura Marina Biondi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Biondi, L.M., Bó, M.S. & Vassallo, A.I. Inter-individual and age differences in exploration, neophobia and problem-solving ability in a Neotropical raptor (Milvago chimango). Anim Cogn 13, 701–710 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-010-0319-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Milvago chimango
  • Neophobia
  • Exploration
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Innovation
  • Age
  • Urbanization