Thursday, September 04, 2008

Woodies 1 Hoopoes 0

Recently we had altruism reported in birds, now we have football hooligan syndrome.
Green Woodhoopoes live in small groups of up to 12 individuals, consisting of a dominant breeding pair and subordinate helpers. Rivalry amongst neighbouring groups occurs frequently, with raucous vocal displays similar to chanting football supporters; with rival ‘fans’ singing together in exactly the same way. Following bouts of conflict, which can last up to 45 minutes (first half!), scientists monitored the behaviour of loosing ‘teams’. They found that they console and fuss over each other (by preening one another) in the same way that fans may commiserate and drown their sorrows in the pub after a defeat. They didn’t say what the winning team got up to.

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