Books  Ornithology  Biology, Ecology & Behaviour 

The Social Life of Greylag Geese: Patterns, Mechanisms and Evolutionary Functions in an Avian Model System

  • Synthesises more than 20 years of published and unpublished data collected from a renowned animal model system, providing an overview of historic and recent research on goose social behaviour
  • Leaders in the field address animal behaviour from a variety of perspectives, including evolutionary, physiological and cognitive approaches
  • The data is complemented by anecdotal evidence from the past 20 years, making this a fascinating resource for anyone interested in integrative approaches to vertebrate social systems

By: Isabella BR Scheiber(Editor), Brigitte M Weiß(Editor), Josef Hemetsberger(Editor), Kurt Kotrschal(Editor)

245 pages, 8 plates with colour photos; b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Aug 2013 | #203655 | ISBN-13: 9780521822701
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £92.99 $118/€104 approx

About this book

The flock of greylag geese established by Konrad Lorenz in Austria in 1973 has become an influential model animal system and one of the few worldwide with complete life-history data spanning several decades. Based on the unique records of nearly 1000 free-living greylag geese, this is a synthesis of more than 20 years of behavioural research. It provides a comprehensive overview of a complex bird society, placing it in an evolutionary framework and drawing on a range of approaches, including behavioural (personality, aggression, pair bonding and clan formation), physiological, cognitive and genetic. With contributions from leading researchers, the chapters provide valuable insight into historic and recent research on the social behaviour of geese. All aspects of goose and bird sociality are discussed in the context of parallels with mammalian social organisation, making this a fascinating resource for anyone interested in integrative approaches to vertebrate social systems.


List of contributors
Preface Kurt Kotrschal

Part I. Research Background:
1. Greylag geese: from general principles to the Konrad Lorenz flock Josef Hemetsberger, Brigitte M. Weiß and Isabella B. R. Scheiber
2. Goose research then and now Katharina Hirschenhauser, Heidi Buhrow, Helga Fischer and Kurt Kotrschal

Part II. From Individual to Clan:
3. Individuals matter: personality Simona Kralj-Fišer, Jonathan Niall Daisley and Kurt Kotrschal
4. Maintenance of the monogamous pair bond Iulia T. Nedelcu and Katharina Hirschenhauser
5. Alternative social and reproductive strategies Brigitte M. Weiß
6. Beyond the pair bond: extended family bonds and female-centred clan formation Isabella B. R. Scheiber and Brigitte M. Weiß

Part III. Costs and Benefits of Social Life:
7. Causes and consequences of aggressive behaviour and dominance rank Brigitte M. Weiß
8. The costs of sociality measured through heart rate modulation Claudia A. F. Wascher and Kurt Kotrschal
9. 'Tend and befriend': the importance of social allies in coping with social stress Isabella B. R. Scheiber
10. How to tell friend from foe: cognition in a complex society Brigitte M. Weiß, Christian Schloegl and Isabella B. R. Scheiber

Part IV. Lessons for Vertebrate Social Life:
11. The greylag goose as a model for vertebrate social complexity Isabella B. R. Scheiber, Kurt Kotrschal and Brigitte M. Weiß


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Isabella B. R. Scheiber is a visiting researcher at the Behavioural Ecology and Self-Organization Group of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and an Associate Scientist at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station (KLF), Grünau, Austria.

Brigitte M. Weiß is a visiting researcher at the Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Germany and an associate scientist at the KLF, Grünau, Austria.

Josef Hemetsberger is a scientist at the Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna, and the KLF, Grünau, Austria.

Kurt Kotrschal is Professor of Zoology at the Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna, and Director of the KLF, Grünau, Austria.

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