ON THE ROLE OF ALLOPREENING INVITATION BEHAVIOUR IN REDUCING AGGRESSION AMONG RED AVADAVATS, WITH COMMENTS ON ITS EVOLUTION IN THE SPERMESTIDAE

Authors


*Natural History Unit, B.B.C., Whiteladies Road, Bristol, 8.

Abstract

This paper discusses the occurence of allopreening and allopreening invitation behaviour in red avadavats, and analyses tho factors which cause these birds to groom partners. It was found that allopreening tended to be temporally linked with aggression and autopreening beaviour in the actor, but that on many occasions, no signs of aggression preceded the act of allopreening. Allopreening invitation behaviour with the head feathers fully raised occurred in situations when the inviting individual was attacked and in response to being pecked or allopreened.

Alloprcening bouts which are tomporally correlated with autopreening behaviour may be a response by the groomer to the feathers of the clumping partner whon the preening tendency of the former bird is alroady activated.

From tho evidence submitted, it seems as though the allopreening invitation posture elicits non-aggressive preening in a bird which is likely to attack. It thus appears to act as an appeasement gesture; head ruffling changes the motivation of a bird tending to be aggressive. It was also found, however, that allopreening invitation behaviour may occur independently of appeasement.

The evolution of the Spermestid allopreening invitation posture from a “fluffed” body posture is also discussed.

Ancillary