As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Baby of brood is 'best explorer' in zebra finches

The birds are named for their black and white markings

The youngest members of zebra finch broods "explore more" than older siblings in adult life, say scientists.

Researchers investigated how the birds' behaviour was affected by the way their parents cared for them as hatchlings.

The team studied broods where females lay and incubate a clutch of eggs over a period of days, resulting in a size hierarchy within the clutch.

They found the youngest birds were more likely to explore their environment as adults in search of food.

The study, published in Animal Behaviour, tested over 100 captive zebra finches' exploratory behaviour to see whether hatching order, and consequently parental investment, affected their behaviour in adulthood.

Late hatched birds are smaller than their older siblings, and it is the larger hatchlings that "get the lion's share" when parents bring in food "because they can reach up higher and beg better," explained research team member Dr Ian Hartley from Lancaster University.

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