Male yellow-crowned bishops (Euplectes afer afer) acquire a novel foraging behaviour by social learning
This study investigated whether the socially foraging yellow-crowned bishop (Euplectes afer afer) was able to learn a problem-solving task by observing a conspecific. In the test group, subjects observed a demonstrator opening a box before being exposed to the same task. Birds from the control group did not receive a social demonstration. Five out of six individuals from the test group succeeded in opening the box whereas all six subjects of the control group failed to solve the task. Group foraging may have favoured the evolution of social learning in yellow-crowned bishops. However, only further studies will allow us to draw definitive conclusions about the evolutionary forces that shaped this cognitive ability, by comparing yellow-crowned bishops with non-social closely related species.
KeywordsSocial foraging Weavers Problem-solving task Cognition
This work was supported by grants from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) (Cognition and tool-use economy project, ECOTOOL, ANR-14-CE30-0015-01; F. Osiurak), and was performed within the framework of the LABEX CORTEX (ANR-11-LABX-0042) of the University of Lyon, within the program Investissements d’Avenir (ANR-11-IDEX-0007; F. Osiurak) operated by the ANR. S. Danel is very grateful to Sébastien Marcle for helping with the experiments and general support, and to Loup Martineau for drawing Fig. 1.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research involving animals
The animals’ care was in accordance with the guidelines of the University of Lyon.
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