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Salience Beats Individual Cue Preferences

Larousse, O and Mettke-Hofmann, C (2024) Salience Beats Individual Cue Preferences. Birds, 5 (1). pp. 115-126. ISSN 2673-6004

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Animals can use different cues to memorise food resources, which can be broadly divided into spatial and feature cues. Differences in species-specific preferences for spatial or feature cues has been historically linked to their reliance on spatial information (food-caching and migratory species prefer spatial cues), but more recently, attention has shifted to procedural differences largely affecting the salience of cues. Here, we investigated cue preferences in the colour-polymorphic Gouldian Finch to test a range of hypotheses. Birds were trained to find food either in a white or coloured feeder always positioned in the same location. In experimental trials, feeders were swapped, dissociating the feature and the spatial cue from the feature cue rewarded. Similar numbers of birds preferred the feature or the spatial cue in the first experimental trial. Preferences were not affected by head colour morph, sex or age group. However, birds with a spatial preference changed their choices over time, resulting in a significant number of birds choosing the feature cue at the end of the experiment. These results indicate that Gouldian Finches have individual preferences for one cue type or the other but can change their preference flexibly depending on the salience of the cue.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: MDPI
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2024 10:26
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 10:30
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/birds5010008
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22561
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