Uni-modal display, multi-dimensional response

Food-related visual signals evoke more than food related behaviour

Carolynn Lorraine Smith, Christopher Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Despite the abundance of multimodal displays by birds, very few of these behaviors have been systematically studied. The current experiment focuses on the visual component of multimodal food-related displays performed by male fowl, Gallus gallus. Previous work established that the vocal component is a signal. To determine if the visual component may also be classified as a signal, we presented 23 females with five high-definition video stimuli: Silent tidbit, Matched-frequency motion in opposing directions, Silent crowing, Still and Empty cage. Females food searched more during Silent tidbit than under any other condition, meaning the visual display denotes the presence of food. Furthermore, when food searching, hens searched closer to the Silent Tidbitting male. In addition to these food-related behaviors, we found a significant increase in the times females spent inspecting the male and standing close to him. These data suggest that the visual signal not only provides information on the presence of food but its location, the male's willingness to share, and his identity. Our results emphasize the need to consider multiple responses in any analysis of complex multimodal signals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-167
Number of pages1
JournalABS 2007: Contributed and Symposium Abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event44th Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society - Burlington, Vermont, USA
Duration: 21 Jul 200725 Jul 2007

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