Behavioural type affects space use in a wild population of crows — ASN Events

Behavioural type affects space use in a wild population of crows (#348)

Sarah A. Deventer 1 , Thomas Bugnyar , Rachael Miller , W. Tecumseh Fitch , Christine Schwab
  1. Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Space use is a fundamental aspect underlying fitness-relevant factors, such as access to resources and predation risk. If constant differences in behaviour (i.e. personality) influence the way animals use and interact with their environment, we expect a direct effect of these differences on individual space use. One dimension among which individuals of a species may differ is their coping style when confronted with a stressor, ranging between proactive and reactive coping. Across many animal species, proactive individuals seem to quickly form routines that are rigidly followed without perturbation by changed environmental variables, which may lead them to repeatedly use the same locations in their habitat. Reactive individuals on the other hand respond more flexibly to changes in the environment such as food availability, which may be reflected in a wider-ranging space use. In this study, we examined the link between coping style and space use in a wild population of crows (Corvus corone). We found that reactive individuals indeed visited a larger number of different locations and thus utilized larger areas within the field site than proactive individuals. However, comparing this result with similar studies of other taxa, it seems that the relationship between the behavioural type and space use of an individual may vary between species, possibly on account of differences in socioecology.