The cultural transmission of courtship patterns in cowbirds,Molothrus ater

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Science Article 4

abstract

In this study, I tested whether the courtship behaviours that facilitate patterns of assortative pairing andmating could be culturally transmitted across generations of brown-headed cowbirds. In an earlier study,I housed a first generation of young South Dakota cowbirds in one of two cultural backgrounds: (1) withadult social models from the same population; or, (2) with adult social models from a behaviourallydistinct Indiana population. During the breeding season, the first cultural generation of South Dakotacowbirds paired and mated assortatively based upon their cultural backgrounds. In the present study, Itested whether these courtship patterns could be culturally transmitted to a second generation of youngSouth Dakota cowbirds.

TODD M. FREEBERG, ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 1998, 56, 1063-1073

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