Shy birds build "better" bonds

Image of male great tit from BBC News. Image of male great tit from BBC Nature News.

A new study published in Ecology Letters suggests that shy male great tits build stronger bonds with birds in their own flock.  This population of birds has been studied in Wytham Woods, near Oxford, UK since 1947.

In case you are wondering, the team determined "shyness" and "boldness" by capturing birds and placing them in a novel environment for 10 minutes.  Shy birds were slow to explore the new environment whereas bold birds explored it quickly. The birds were then tagged and tracked using radio transmitters. The researchers observed that "shy" birds tended to remain with the same flock and associated with fewer birds whereas "bold" birds foraged for food with several groups of birds and maintained numerous short-term associations.

In a quote from BBC Nature News study author Aplin said, "Males tend to prefer to associate with individuals with the same personality type as them and we think this might be to do with shy birds avoiding bold males."

I find it interesting that these behaviors are so similar to those of the students that I come across on a daily basis.


Aplin LM, Farine DR, Morand-Ferron J, Cole EF, Cockburn A, Sheldon BC. Individual personalities predict social behaviour in wild networks of great tits (Parus major). Ecology Letters, 17 SEP 2013. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12181

BBC Nature News

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Very good bird. But she is so shy.
Keep her beautiful.
Thank you.

Best Regards
Ilmu Kimia

By Ilmu Kimia (not verified) on 24 Sep 2013 #permalink

Interesting.....I just read a similar article that said that by researching shy verses bold birds, scientists can determine social behavior, spread of diseases, and spread of information.

Even more interesting, though, is the idea that introversion and extroversion are not solely human traits. Which makes a lot of sense considering that both personality types have a measurable impact on evolutionary progress and survival of a species (i.e., extroverts help us expand quickly by being rash and impulsive while introverts keep us grounded and cautious by hanging back; if the introverts stay back and a predator sacks the community, the extroverts, who are out being extroverts, survive; if the extroverts run into predators in the wild and get eaten, the introverts back at the community have survived).

By Jason Thibeault (not verified) on 25 Sep 2013 #permalink

Beautiful bird. I have this bird too.
This bird is very beautiful and this bird is good singing everytime. Nice nice...


Ilmu Bahasa

By Ilmu Bahasa (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

I never see such a beautyful bird as this one.. I hope they'll survive from hunter.
sincerely yours,
Belajar Kimia Kelas

By belajar kimia kelas (not verified) on 04 Jul 2015 #permalink

I wonder if when it comes to reproduction the same "Shyness" and "Boldness" are factors in that as well?