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How birds prepare for war

Green woodhoopoes

Green woodhoopoes Chris van Rooyen

7 July 2010

Just as human soldiers show greater solidarity when entering combat zones, new research from the University of Bristol has demonstrated that birds also increase their affiliative behaviour in situations where conflict with rival groups is likely.

Just as human soldiers show greater solidarity when entering combat zones, new research from the University of Bristol has demonstrated that birds also increase their affiliative behaviour in situations where conflict with rival groups is likely.

Such behaviour in response to the threat of potential conflict suggests that birds may be capable of anticipation and future planning, a trait that was until recently considered the preserve of humans and other primates.

Dr Andy Radford, BBSRC Fellow in the University’s School of Biological Sciences, studied a population of green woodhoopoes (Phoeniculus purpureus), common forest-dwelling birds in southern Africa.

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