• Fission-fusion dynamics over large distances in raven non-breeders

    • Matthias-Claudio Loretto
      Department für Kognitionsbiologie, Fakultät für Lebenswissenschaften, Universität Wien
    • Richard Schuster
      Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia
    • Christian Itty
      Délégation Régionale Occitanie, Office National de la Chasse et de Faune sauvage, France
    • Pascal Marchand
      Délégation Régionale Occitanie, Office National de la Chasse et de Faune sauvage, France
    • Fulvio Genero
      Riserva naturale regionale del Lago di Cornino
    • Thomas Bugnyar
      Department für Kognitionsbiologie, Fakultät für Lebenswissenschaften, Universität Wien
  • The influence of fission-fusion dynamics, i.e., temporal variation in group size and composition, on social complexity has been studied in large-brained mammals that rely on social bonds. Little is known about birds, even though some species like ravens have recently received attention for their socio-cognitive skills and use of social bonds. While raven breeders defend territories year-round, non-breeders roam through large areas and form groups at food sources or night roosts. We here examined the fission-fusion patterns of non-breeding ravens over years, investigating whether birds meet repeatedly either at the same or at different locations. We combined four large datasets: presence-absence observations from two study sites (Austria, Italy) and GPS-tracking of ravens across two study areas (Austria, France). As expected, we found a highly dynamic system in which individuals with long phases of temporary settlement had a high probability of meeting others. Although GPS-tagged ravens spread out over thousands of square kilometres, we found repeated associations between almost half of the possible combinations at different locations. Such a system makes repeated interactions between individuals at different sites possible and likely. High fission-fusion dynamics may thus not hinder but shape the social complexity of ravens and, possibly, other long-term bonded birds.

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  • http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:918675

  • Wissenschaftlicher Artikel

  • Veröffentlichte Version

  • Scientific Reports

  • 2017

  • 7

  • Springer Nature

  • Englisch

  • Frei zugänglich

  • CC BY Namensnennung 4.0 International
    © The Author(s) 2017

  • Y366-B17 – Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)

  • W1234 – Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)

  • 2045-2322

  • Animal behaviour; Behavioural ecology; Social evolution