We investigated individual differences in copying behaviour of captive great tits, Parus major, by analysing their response to a tutor indicating a new feeding site. We used two groups, each di seven male birds, labelled 'fast' and 'slow' explorers based on previous studies in which consistent individual differences in the speed of exploring were found. The birds were trained to search for food hidden in a number of differently coloured and shaped feeders, and later to search in only one type of feeder. During the tests, food was absent and the birds were observed in two different situations: alone or in the presence of a tutor, a bird that had been trained to feed in a different kind of feeder. When alone, slow birds readily extended their search to other feeders while fast birds did not change their routine of visiting the previously rewarded ones. In the presence of the tutor, the opposite occurred: slow birds did not change their behaviour while fast birds significantly increased their visits to the feeders indicated by the tutor. Fast and slow individuals thus differ in their foraging and copying behaviour, consistent with the producer-scrounger model. (C) 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. [KEYWORDS: Parus-major; food; strategies; behavior; scroungers; simulation; producers; sparrows; pigeons; flocks]
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Journal publication date2000

ID: 378961