Monday, 26 May 2014

The Lorikeet High-Five

When lorikeets compete over access to food, the decisive fighting is between males, though females play a supporting rôle and fight each other.  In alpha couples, the female may behave as aggressively as the male.

When a male wins a decisive victory, he and his partner will sometimes engage in a joint victory celebration, realised by a very rapid serpentine co-ordinated movement of beaks, in conjunction with very agitated, loud, brief "cooing".  This can be seen as rewarding the joint behaviour of the "team".

I have also observed the very same semiosis in pigeons, though with reduced vocalisation.

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