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Scent of the enemy: behavioural responses to predator faecal odour in the fowl
Stockholm University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4352-6275
2012 (English)In: Animal Behaviour, ISSN 0003-3472, E-ISSN 1095-8282, Vol. 84, no 3, 547-554 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Chemical communication is used by diverse organisms in a variety of contexts and can have strong fitness consequences for the individuals involved. However, despite the extensive use of birds as models for many research areas in biology, avian olfaction has been poorly investigated. Studies on bird species that lack well-developed olfactory organs and those investigating responses to predator odours are particularly scarce. We investigated behavioural responses of the domestic fowl, Gallus gallus domesticus, a ground-living species with intermediate olfactory bulb size, to several predator and nonpredator faecal odours. We found that the birds spent less time foraging and were more vigilant when exposed to predator faecal odour compared with nonpredator faecal odour. Individuals showed a similar response when exposed to increased amounts of faeces. Taken together, our results demonstrate that domestic fowl can distinguish between herbivore and predator faecal odour, and respond to predator olfactory cues alone, without prior experience. Our results have implications for the understanding of predator-prey interactions and responses to olfactory cues in general, and for chemical communication in avian species more specifically.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Masson , 2012. Vol. 84, no 3, 547-554 p.
Keyword [en]
avian olfaction, domestic fowl, Gallus gallus domesticus, predator detection, predator-prey interaction
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84334DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.06.006ISI: 000308123700009OAI: diva2:558924

Funding Agencies|Royal Physiographic Society in Lund||Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation||

Available from: 2012-10-05 Created: 2012-10-05 Last updated: 2014-11-28

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Zidar, JosefinaLøvlie, Hanne
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