Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Siberian Jays Use Complex Communication To Mob Predators

Date:
June 15, 2009
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
When mobbing predators, Siberian jays use over a dozen different calls to communicate the level of danger and predator category to other members of their own group. A new shows birds have evolved call systems that are as sophisticated as those of primates and meerkats.

When mobbing predators, Siberian jays use over a dozen different calls to communicate the level of danger and predator category to other members of their own group. A Swedish study shows birds have evolved call systems that are as sophisticated as those of primates and meerkats.
Credit: Michael Griesser

When mobbing predators, Siberian jays use over a dozen different calls to communicate the level of danger and predator category to other members of their own group. A Swedish study from Uppsala University, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, shows birds have evolved call systems that are as sophisticated as those of primates and meerkats.

Most prey immediately escape upon detecting a predator. However, when encountering resting predators, many prey approach and mob predators despite the associated risk. While mobbing predators, prey utter mobbing calls, which have been suggested to vary depending on risk or predator category. The new study from the Department of Ecology and Evolution, Uppsala University, shows that Siberian jays adjust their mobbing calls depending on both these factors simultaneously. According to the study, both factors matter since they determine the risk posed by the resting predator.

"The chatter of mobbing jays is rather complex. The birds use over a dozen different calls, some of which are specific for owls and other for hawks, the two main predator categories of jays," says researcher Michael Griesser.

Moreover, jays adjust their calling depending on group composition. Family groups utter much more calls than groups that only consist of unrelated individuals. The only other animal species with a comparably rich vocabulary when mobbing predators are meerkats, a small mammal that lives in large family groups.

Together with earlier published findings, this study demonstrates that Siberian jays can possess an extraordinary large "vocabulary" of over 25 different vocalisations, some of which are specific for a situation while others are uttered in various contexts.

"My study supports the idea that the need to survive encounters with predators might have played an important role for the evolution of complex animal communication," says Michael Griesser.

Not only our ancestors but also other family group living animals outwit their predators with the help of their cognitive abilities. Lowering the risk of relative of being killed benefits the propagation of the own genes through kin selection. In contrast, animals that live in anonymous groups rather rely on the selfish notion that other group members could become the target in the next predator attack, and therefore have no such communication systems.

Download and listen to the different mobbing calls at http://www.uu.se/news/news_item.php?typ=pm&id=663

Michael Griesser is currently working at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, but conducted the study at Uppsala University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "Siberian Jays Use Complex Communication To Mob Predators." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125101.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2009, June 15). Siberian Jays Use Complex Communication To Mob Predators. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125101.htm
Uppsala University. "Siberian Jays Use Complex Communication To Mob Predators." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125101.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins