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Social learning in great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus): A preliminary study.

Authors
  • Danel, Samara1, 2
  • Troina, Genyffer3, 4
  • Dufour, Valérie5
  • Bailly-Bechet, Marc6
  • von Bayern, Auguste M P7
  • Osiurak, François8, 9
  • 1 Laboratory for the Study of Cognitive Mechanisms, University of Lyon, 69500, Bron, Rhône-Alpes, France. [email protected] , (France)
  • 2 Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, 82319, Seewiesen, Germany. [email protected] , (Germany)
  • 3 Analytical, Environmental and Geo-Chemistry Department, Earth System Sciences Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 4 Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação da Megafauna Marinha, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Rio Grande, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 5 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Team Ethologie Cognitive et Sociale, Alsace Delegation, 23 rue de Lœss, 67037, Strasbourg, France. , (France)
  • 6 INRA, CNRS, ISA, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France. , (France)
  • 7 Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, 82319, Seewiesen, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 8 Laboratory for the Study of Cognitive Mechanisms, University of Lyon, 69500, Bron, Rhône-Alpes, France. , (France)
  • 9 University Institute of France, 75005, Paris, Ile-de-France, France. , (France)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & behavior
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
48
Issue
3
Pages
344–350
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13420-019-00404-6
PMID: 32052278
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) exhibit life-history parameters and ecological traits thought to be associated with social learning, and advanced cognitive processing more generally. In this study we investigated whether this species can acquire novel behavior socially in a foraging context. Birds from the test group watched a trained conspecific opening an opaque box containing a food reward by using its beak, whereas the control group had no demonstrator but saw the box for an equivalent time span. Individuals from both groups were subsequently allowed access to the box. Subjects of the test group performed significantly better than the control group. This is the first experimental evidence of social learning in a cooperatively hunting bird. Further studies are needed in order to shed light on the factors favoring the evolution of this capacity, by testing different pelican species that vary in their ecology.

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