Article: article from journal or magazin.
Melanism is related to behavioural lateralization in nestling barn owls.
Behavioural laterality is a commonly observed phenomenon in many species suggesting there might be an advantage of using dominantly one side over the other for certain tasks. Indeed, lateralized individuals were often shown to be more successful in cognitive tasks compared to non-lateralized conspecifics. However, stressed individuals are also often, but not always, more strongly lateralized. Because barn owl (Tyto alba) females displaying larger black spots on the tip of their ventral feathers produce offspring that are more resistant to a variety of environmental stressful factors, we examined whether laterality is associated with melanin-based coloration. We recorded whether nestlings use more often the right or left foot to scratch their body and whether they preen more often one side of the body or the other using their bills. We found that the strength of lateralization of preening and scratching was less pronounced in individuals born from heavily spotted mothers. This result might be explained by plumage-related variation in the ability to resist stressful rearing conditions.
Bird, Colouration, Development, Personality, Preening, Scratching
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