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When to return to normal? Temporal dynamics of vigilance in four situations

Mettke-Hofmann, C (2022) When to return to normal? Temporal dynamics of vigilance in four situations. Birds, 4 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2673-6004

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/birds4010001 (Published version)


Vigilance is an important behaviour to monitor the environment from detecting predators to tracking conspecifics. However, little is known about how vigilance changes over time either without disturbance (vigilance decrement) or after a change occurred. The time course of vigilance can indicate how animals perceive a situation and the potential mechanism used to deal with it. I investigated the time course of vigilance in Gouldian Finches in four situations (familiar environment, two changed environments – novel object at a neutral location (exploration trial) or above the feeder (neophobia trial), novel environment). The frequency of head movements was assessed in four consecutive 15-minute blocks in same sex pairs with a high frequency generally seen as indicative of high vigilance. Vigilance decreased over time in the familiar situation in-dicating vigilance decrement with a similar time course in the exploration trial. Vigilance was consistently high in the neophobia trial and only returned to normal in the last block. Finally, vigilance plummeted in the novel environment and did not return to normal within an hour. Results suggest that perceived threats affected vigilance and that information gathering reduced uncertainty allowing vigilance to return to normal levels but with different time courses depending on the situation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: exploration; Gouldian finch; information gathering; neophilia; neophobia; novel environment; novel object; vigilance decrement
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: MDPI AG
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2022 10:55
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2022 11:00
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/birds4010001
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18505
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