Article: article from journal or magazin.
Reciprocal preening and food sharing in colour-polymorphic nestling barn owls.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Barn owl (Tyto alba) siblings preen and offer food items to one another, behaviours that can be considered prosocial because they benefit a conspecific by relieving distress or need. In experimental broods, we analysed whether such behaviours were reciprocated, preferentially exchanged between specific phenotypes, performed to avoid harassment and food theft or signals of hierarchy status. Three of the results are consistent with the hypothesis of direct reciprocity. First, food sharing was reciprocated in three-chick broods but not in pairs of siblings, that is when nestlings could choose a partner with whom to develop a reciprocating interaction. Second, a nestling was more likely to give a prey item to its sibling if the latter individual had preened the former. Third, siblings matched their investment in preening each other. Manipulation of age hierarchy showed that food stealing was directed towards older siblings but was not performed to compensate for a low level of cooperation received. Social behaviours were related to melanin-based coloration, suggesting that animals may signal their propensity to interact socially. The most prosocial phenotype (darker reddish) was also the phenotype that stole more food, and the effect of coloration on prosocial behaviour depended upon rank and sex, suggesting that colour-related prosociality is state dependent.
allofeeding, allopreening, altruism, cooperation, food sharing, food stealing, reciprocity, sibling competition, social behaviour, Tyto alba
Web of science
Last modification date