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Data from: The ability of North Island robins to discriminate between humans is related to their behavioural type

Citation

Barnett, Craig A. et al. (2013), Data from: The ability of North Island robins to discriminate between humans is related to their behavioural type, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.np517

Abstract

Animals are able to learn to identify persistent threats to themselves and their offspring. For example, birds are able to quickly learn to discriminate between humans that have previously threatened their nests from humans with whom they have had no prior experience. However, no study has yet examined whether a bird's ability to discriminate between humans is related to the bird's underlying behavioural type. In this study, we examined whether there were differences among North Island (NI) robins (Petroica longipes), based on their underlying behavioural type, in their abilities to discriminate between familiar and novel human observers. Using a simple feeding experiment, we timed how long it took birds to attack a food item placed next to an observer on each of 7 days. On the eighth day, a different observer timed the birds. We found that birds could be split into two behaviour types based on their attack behaviour: fast attackers (latencies <20 sec) and slow attackers (latencies >20 secs). Interestingly, the fast birds did not increase their attack latency in response to the novel observer whereas the slow attackers did. This result, for the first time, demonstrates that a bird's ability to discriminate between humans can vary among birds based on their behavioural type.

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