Sex-specific effects of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting on prosociality in corvids

Lisa Horn, Thomas Bugnyar, Michael Griesser, Marietta Hengl, Ei Ichi Izawa, Tim Oortwijn, Christiane Rössler, Clara Scheer, Martina Schiestl, Masaki Suyama, Alex H. Taylor, Lisa Claire Vanhooland, Auguste M.P. von Bayern, Yvonne Zürcher, Jorg J.M. Massen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The investigation of prosocial behavior is of particular interest from an evolutionary perspective. Comparisons of prosociality across non-human animal species have, however, so far largely focused on primates, and their interpretation is hampered by the diversity of paradigms and procedures used. Here, we present the first systematic comparison of prosocial behavior across multiple species in a taxonomic group outside the primate order, namely the bird family Corvidae. We measured prosociality in eight corvid species, which vary in the expression of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting. We show that cooperative breeding is positively associated with prosocial behavior across species. Also, colonial nesting is associated with a stronger propensity for prosocial behavior, but only in males. The combined results of our study strongly suggest that both cooperative breeding and colonial nesting, which may both rely on heightened social tolerance at the nest, are likely evolutionary pathways to prosocial behavior in corvids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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