IV North American Ornithological Conference

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HOME | CONTACT | HELP Juan Manuel González García, J, G, Master's Degree in Biological Sciences, Autonomous University of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico, manuelgon3@hotmail.com
Carlos Lara, C , L, Tlaxcala Center for Behavioral Biology, UAT-UNAM, Tlaxcala, Mexico, laracar@garza.uatx.mx OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING IN THE WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (HYLOCHARIS LEUCOTIS): EXPERIMENTAL TESTS

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Observational learning occurs when an animal can observe the actions of another and learn from what is done. This can be as simple as learning the location of a food fort or as complex as learning a sequence of actions that need to be performed to get a reward. It has been suggested that hummingbirds can learn to feed on flowers by observing other hummingbirds, because they usually encounter during their foraging movements a diverse assemblage of flowers that vary in shape, color and reward. In this study, the learning abilities of the ear-white hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis) were evaluated in the presence or absence of an experienced individual. In training treatment, hummingbirds learned to feed on a mixed arrangement of red and yellow artificial flowers whose reward was in one color at a time. For comparison, non-inexperienced hummingbirds were faced with the same flower arrangement. When red flowers were rewarded, inexperienced hummingbirds attempted to visit them even in the absence of the tutor, but the tutored individuals learned to feed on those flowers faster. In yellow flowers, the tutored hummingbirds also learned faster than the inexperienced ones. However, torturing or not, hummingbirds fed faster on red flowers. Our results suggest that in hummingbirds, the initial task of identifying a novel food resource can be facilitated through observing co-specific foraging behavior.

Juan Manuel González García, J, G, Master's Degree in Biological Sciences, Autonomous University of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico, manuelgon3@hotmail.com
Carlos Lara, C , L, Tlaxcala Center for Behavioral Biology, UAT-UNAM, Tlaxcala, Mexico, laracar@garza.uatx.mx OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING IN THE WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (HYLOCHARIS LEUCOTIS): EXPERIMENTAL TESTS h3>

Observational learning occurs when an animal can observe the actions of another and learn from what is done. This can be as simple as learning the location of a food fort or as complex as learning a sequence of actions that need to be performed to get a reward. It has been suggested that hummingbirds can learn to feed on flowers by observing other hummingbirds, because they usually encounter during their foraging movements a diverse assemblage of flowers that vary in shape, color and reward. In this study, the learning abilities of the ear-white hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis) were evaluated in the presence or absence of an experienced individual. In training treatment, hummingbirds learned to feed on a mixed arrangement of red and yellow artificial flowers whose reward was in one color at a time. For comparison, non-inexperienced hummingbirds were faced with the same flower arrangement. When red flowers were rewarded, inexperienced hummingbirds attempted to visit them even in the absence of the tutor, but the tutored individuals learned to feed on those flowers faster. In yellow flowers, the tutored hummingbirds also learned faster than the inexperienced ones. However, torturing or not, hummingbirds fed faster on red flowers. Our results suggest that in hummingbirds, the initial task of identifying a novel food resource can be facilitated through observing the behavior of foraging of specific species.

  • Adam Floyd