The Social Life of Greylag Geese

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

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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 twenty 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.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 54 b/w illus. 8 colour illus. 3 tables
  • 113904995X
  • 9781139049955

Review quote

'[This] book provides fascinating insights into the complex social world of greylag geese and will be interesting for anyone with an interest in social organization and sociality.' Ralf H. J. M. Kurvers, The Quarterly Review of Biology
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Table of contents

List of contributors; Preface Kurt Kotrschal; Acknowledgements; 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-Fiser, 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; Index.
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