Is the black tie of Great Tits a signal in territorial interactions? An investigation with 3D printed models

Avşar, Alican
Bilgin, Cemal Can
Akçay, Çağlar
Animals often use signals to resolve aggressive interactions without resorting to physical aggression. For instance, in many bird species, melanin-based plumage traits serve as “badges of status” in settling conflicts in dominance hierarchies in winter flocks. Whether such badges are also functional as a signal in territorial interactions however is less studied. Here we ask whether the “black tie” of the great tits,Parus major,is used to assess territorial intruders by male great tits.Specifically, weperformedplayback experimentson territorial males, in which we coupled song playback with3D printed Great Tit models with narrow and wideblackties. We also includeda negative control (a monochrome gray 3D model)to ask whether great tits perceived the hand-painted 3D models as conspecific intruders. We predicteda more robust territorial response to the models with larger black-tie. Our study is expected to contribute to a better understanding the relationship between territory defense and plumage ornamentation in Great Tits.The use of 3D printed models also provide new opportunities to study the coloration signals in animals.
ABS 2021


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Citation Formats
A. Avşar, C. C. Bilgin, and Ç. Akçay, “Is the black tie of Great Tits a signal in territorial interactions? An investigation with 3D printed models,” presented at the ABS 2021, Illinois, Amerika Birleşik Devletleri, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: