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Abstract

In Zenaida doves, Zenaida aurita, of Barbados, previous work has shown that social learning is associated with foraging ecology in the field: in captive experiments, group-foraging birds learn more readily from a conspecific tutor, while territorial birds learn from the heterospecific they most often feed with in mixed-species aggregations, the Carib grackle, Quiscalus lugubris. This study examines foraging ecology and social learning in a dove population that experiences both territorial defence and occasional group feeding, Brandon's Beach. In part I, we document the dual foraging pattern seen in this population, which lives only a few hundred metres from the group-foraging harbour population studied in previous work. In part II, we show that doves from Brandon's Beach, consistent with their dual foraging experience, learn as readily from a conspecific as they do from a heterospecific tutor; control doves from the adjacent harbour site learn primarily from a conspecific tutor. Field sightings of banded individuals caught at the harbour and Brandon's show strong site fidelity, but sufficient movement between areas (4%) to make reproductive divergence between the two neighbouring populations highly unlikely, suggesting that social learning differences between them are non-genetic.