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The development of stereotypic behavior in caged european starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

Lookup NU author(s): Gesa Feenders, Professor Melissa BatesonORCiD


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Stereotypic behavior in captive animals has been hypothesized to emerge from thwarted natural behavior patterns and is thought to be more common in captive-reared animals. However, data on the early stages of developing stereotypies are currently scarce. We compared the development of stereotypic route-tracing and somersaulting in hand-reared and wild-caught starlings placed in individual cages for the first time. We found that wild-caught birds were less active but showed more escape motivation and more evidence of route-tracing behavior. Furthermore, somersaulting was only observed in wild-caught birds. Development of somersaulting was predicted by subtle differences in behavior during the first few days in cages and developed in individuals with low levels of route-tracing behavior. Our data suggest a role for escape motivation in the development of starling stereotypies and additionally that route-tracing and somersaulting may represent alternative outlets for thwarted escape. In contrast to observations from mammals, our results show that stereotypies are more common in wild-caught starlings. (C) 2011 Wiley Periodicals,Inc. Dev Psychobiol 54: 773784, 2012

Publication metadata

Author(s): Feenders G, Bateson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Psychobiology

Year: 2012

Volume: 54

Issue: 8

Pages: 773-784

Print publication date: 29/11/2012

ISSN (print): 0012-1630

ISSN (electronic): 1098-2302

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/dev.20623


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