Re: Play

Subject: Re: Play
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 07:01:25 +1000
At 06:50 PM 4/23/98 +1000, Susan Myers wrote:

>Just to clear up one, possibly ambiguous point, I have observed
>White-winged Choughs playing (quite roughly) on a number of occasions but
>have never seen them allopreening.
Hi Susan,

Dr Robert Heinsohn of the Australian National University studied the
behavioural ecology of White-winged Choughs for about 10 years. These birds
live in extremely territorial groups. When two groups encounter each other
there is a lot of agressive displaying, screeching and fighting. Perhaps
the "rough playing" you observed in Choughs is just one way of these birds
perfecting their territorial skills.

Interestingly, Rob observed juvenile birds joining the neighbouring
territorial group during such disputes. It's not known if the juveniles are
abducted or if they are confused and just join the wrong group after the
dispute. Choughs are co-operative breeders (parent birds are assisted by
other members of the breeding group to feed nestlings and defend the nest),
and the misplaced juveniles help their adopted group to raise new young.
These juveniles are also initially at the bottom of the social hierarchy in
their new group, suggesting that they may have been deliberately abducted.

Hope you find this information useful and interesting.


Dr Stephen Ambrose
Research Manager

Birds Australia (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union)
Australian Bird Research Centre
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East,
VIC   3123.

Tel:    +61 3 9882 2622
Fax:    +61 3 9882 2677
1997 Australian Bird Research Directory is on Birds Australia's 
home page: <>.

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