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Group decisions and individual differences: route fidelity predicts flight leadership in homing pigeons (Columba livia)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Mathematics, Analysis and Applied Mathematics.
2011 (English)In: Biology Letters, ISSN 1744-9561, E-ISSN 1744-957X, Vol. 7, no 1, 63-66 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How social-living animals make collective decisions is currently the subject of intense scientific interest, with increasing focus on the role of individual variation within the group. Previously, we demonstrated that during paired flight in homing pigeons, a fully transitive leadership hierarchy emerges as birds are forced to choose between their own and their partner's habitual routes. This stable hierarchy suggests a role for individual differences mediating leadership decisions within homing pigeon pairs. What these differences are, however, has remained elusive. Using novel quantitative techniques to analyse habitual route structure, we show here that leadership can be predicted from prior route-following fidelity. Birds that are more faithful to their own route when homing alone are more likely to emerge as leaders when homing socially. We discuss how this fidelity may relate to the leadership phenomenon, and propose that leadership may emerge from the interplay between individual route confidence and the dynamics of paired flight.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 7, no 1, 63-66 p.
Keyword [en]
navigation, homing pigeon, collective behaviour, decision-making, leadership
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-149058DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0627ISI: 000286135000020PubMedID: 20810431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-149058DiVA: diva2:403786
Available from: 2011-03-15 Created: 2011-03-15 Last updated: 2012-11-02Bibliographically approved

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