Inter-Animal Control of Space

  • John Le Gay Brereton


The inter-animal control of space is here illustrated by comparative studies. Related species of parrots which are found from wet to semi-arid and arid habitats are investigated. As the habitat becomes more arid the species become more gregarious. Social complexity however follows a quite different course. It is Zow in the wet habitats but rises rapidly to a maximum in the semi-arid habitats, and from there falls gradually as aridity and gregariousness increase.

Gregariousness is measured by flock size and social index. Data for flock size comes from the number seen flying together and feeding together. Social index is the subjective assessment of morphological and behavioural characteristics. The more similar the sex and age groups are, the higher is the index.

Complexity of the social system is assessed by studying the communication system, and the role of definable individuals and groups in the system. For example, the semi-arid adapted species (plat-ycercus eximius) has at least 27 distinct auditory signals, while the arid adapted species (Barnardius barnardi), has l6 and the wet adapted species (P. elegans) has 20. The semi-arid adapted species is composed of a core population of dominant pairs and a secondary population which forms groups within a flock. The groups are arranged in a hierarchy, and the individuals within a group are also arranged in a hierarchy. Species of the wet forests and the arid areas have fewer recognisable social entities.


Core Population Auditory Signal Social Complexity Flock Size Population System 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Altmann, S.A.: Sociobiology of rhesus monkeys. II. Stochastics of social communication. J. Theor. Biol., 8: 490–522, 1965.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Armstrong, E.A.: Bird Display and Behaviour. Lindsay Drummond Ltd., London, 1947.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bergin, T.: Breeding biology of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus Shaw). University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W., Australia, Honours Thesis, 1968.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brockway, B.F.: Ethological studies of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus): non-reproductive behaviour. Behaviour 22: 193–222, 1964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ethological studies of the budgerigar (Melop-sittacus undulatus): reproductive behaviour. Behaviour 23:294–324, 1964Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brockway, B.F.: Social influences on reproductive physiology and ethology of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus): Anim. Behay., 12: 493–501, 1964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Carrick, R.: Ecological significance of territory in the Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen). Proceedings XIII International Ornithological Congress, 740–753, 1963.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hall, B.K.: The annual inter-renal tissue cycle within the adrenal gland of the eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius). (Ayes: Psittaciformes). In press.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marier, P. and Hamilton, W.J.: Mechanisms of Animal Behaviour. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1966.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Parry, V.: Sociality, Territoriality and Breeding Biology of the Kookaburra, Dacelo gigas (Boddaert). Monash University, Clayton, Vic., Australia, M. Sc. Thesis, 1968.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pickett, P.J.: Aspects of Social Distance in Some Species of Parrots. University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W., Australia, Honours Thesis, 1967Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pidgeon, R.: Ecology and Behaviour of the Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla). In M.S.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rowly, I.: The life history of the superb blue wren (Malurus cyaneus). Emu, 64: 251–297.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shepherd, P.: Some notes on breeding the Quaker parrakeet (Myiopsitta monarchus). Avicult. Mag., 74: 210–211, 1968.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Skutch, A.F.: Helpers among birds. Condor, 63: 198–226, 1961.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Watters, P.: An Integrated Numerical and Orthodox Approach to the Taxonomy of the Order Psittaciformes. University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W., Australia, Doctoral Thesis, 1968.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zann, R.: Behavioral Studies of the Quarrion (Numphicus hollandicus). University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W., Australia, B.S. Honours Thesis, 1965.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Le Gay Brereton

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations