THE IMPORTANCE OF CERTAIN ASSEMBLAGES OF BIRDS AS “INFORMATION-CENTRES” FOR FOOD-FINDING

Authors


Summary

Evidence is presented to support the hypothesis that communal roosts, breeding colonies and certain other bird assemblages have been evolved primarily for the efficient exploitation of unevenly-distributed food sources by serving as “information-centres”.

Predation-pressure is regarded as being the most important factor “shaping” the assemblages. The shaping involves the choice of inaccessible or otherwise safe sites, optimum dispersal, mutual awareness of attack and joint defensive tactics, and serves to minimise the vulnerability to predation which would otherwise result when birds mass together in conspicuous, and often predictable centres.

Ancillary