You may know that the recently-released UltraVox XT 3 is used to study ultrasound vocalizations, especially in rodents and bats. But the fact that it analyzes full-spectrum sound, together with the filter options and cool features like the spectrogram and the automatic call detection, makes it ideal for analyzing bird calls. Yours truly must admit that he is not fond of quantification of behavior at any cost, but this time he could not resist.
Today, it’s all about bird behavior.
Interested? Read on!
Don’t we all enjoy the variety and intensity of bird colors? Male birds have perhaps the most impressive color display in nature. Those with bright colors are generally healthier and have access to good food which contains pigments. Therefore, in general, female birds prefer males with the most conspicuous colors. Unlike humans, birds are able to see light in the ultraviolet color range. Some bird species have structures in their feathers that reflect UV light. A well-known example of structural coloration is peacock feathers which are pigmented brown, but appear blue, turquoise and green because of reflection by a microscopically structured surface . Most research on the role of colors in the UV range on mating preference is done with species with such structural coloration. But pigments themselves can also contain components that are visible in the UV range and these may affect mating preference. Investigating this will increase our knowledge on sexual selection in bird species. A group of researchers from the University of Coimbra and the University of Porto, Portugal investigated whether pigments in the UV range play a role in preference of the European serin females (Serinus serinus) for their males. European serin males have a very conspicuous carotenoid-based yellow color. The authors divided wild captured birds into a high-pigment and low-pigment group.
It seems inevitable: the end-of-year lists. And yes, here at the Noldus blog, you can find them too. I did not want leave 2013 behind us without mentioning our three most popular blog posts on animal behavior research of this year. While 13 might not be a lucky number for some, we have had a great year in which we saw a lot of growth in zebrafish research and the combination of optogenetics and behavior. Not surprisingly, these two topics showed up in our top 3.
Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, The Observer XT, animal behavior research, video observation, fish, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, rats, birds, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, arthritis, monkey, locomotion, 2013
Tracking birds with EthoVision XT and analyzing patterns with Theme
Laboratory animals and behavioral research
Rearing animals specifically for behavioral research is a very common practice. However, the results from behavioral studies with laboratory animals should be interpreted with care. There is much evidence indicating that the behavior of laboratory animals differs from that of animals caught in the wild. Laboratory animals are likely to be tamer than wild animals, but they can also be impaired in some behaviors. Some mammals have impairments in learning and memory when reared in a laboratory. They can also develop abnormal behaviors, called stereotypies, such as route-tracing. Similar effects of rearing in laboratories can be found in some bird species.
Don’t we all enjoy the variety and intensity of bird colors? Male birds have perhaps the most impressive color display in nature. Those with bright colors are generally healthier and have access to good food which contains pigments. Therefore, in general, female birds prefer males with the most conspicuous colors.
(Photo courtesy of Ana Leitão)