Article: article from journal or magazin.
Vocal sib-sib interactions: how siblings adjust signaling level to each other
Game theory states that iterative interactions between individuals are necessary to adjust behaviour optimally to one another. Although our understanding of the role of begging signals in the resolution of parent-offspring conflict over parental investment rests on game theory implying repeated interactions between family members, empiricists usually consider interactions at the exact moment when parents allocate food among the brood. Therefore, the mechanisms by which siblings adjust signalling level to one another remain unclear. We tackled this issue in the barn owl, Tyto alba. In the absence of parents, hungry nestlings signal vocally to siblings their intention to contest vigorously the next, indivisible, food item. Such behaviour deters siblings from competing and begging when parents return to the nest. In experimental two-chick broods, nestlings producing the longest calls in the absence of parents, a signal of hunger level, were more successful at monopolizing the food item at the first parental feeding visit of the night. Moreover, nestlings increased (versus decreased) call duration when their sibling produced longer (versus shorter) calls, and an individual was more likely to call again if its sibling began to vocalize before or just after it had ended its previous call. These results are in agreement with the hypothesis that siblings challenge each other vocally to reinforce the honesty of sib-sib communication and to resolve conflicts over which individual will have priority of access to the next delivered food item. Siblings challenge each other vocally to confirm that the level of signalling accurately reflects motivation.
barn owl, begging, communication, parent-offspring conflict, sibling negotiation, signalling, Tyto alba, vocalization
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