Information use in habitat selection decisions in songbirds

Birds live in environments that are heterogeneous at various spatial and temporal scales regarding abiotic, biotic, and social characteristics. The key feature of adaptive settlement behaviour in a heterogeneous environment is gathering and using information about ambient conditions, as it allows individuals to assess a range of available options and choose one with the highest expected fitness outcome. We investigate strategies of social and non-social information use for habitat-selection decisions in songbirds, i.e. how social (con- and heterospecifics) and non-social (predators, habitat characteristics) cues influence the settlement decisions of individuals, using the wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) as a main model species.


Informed habitat selection decisions in songbirds

PI: Jakub Szymkowiak

Co-investigatorsLechosław Kuczyński, Robert L. Thomson

Duration: 2016 – present

More info: project page

Behavioral mechanisms of habitat selection processes in small songbirds: the wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) as a case study

Funding: National Science Centre, Poland (NCN 2012/07/N/NZ8/00129)

PI: Jakub Szymkowiak

Co-investigatorsLechosław Kuczyński, Robert L. Thomson

Duration: 2013-2016

More info: project page

Selected publications

Szymkowiak J., Thomson R.L., Kuczyński L. 2017. Interspecific social information use in habitat selection decisions among migrant songbirds. Behavioral Ecology, 28: 767-775, DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx029

Szymkowiak J., Thomson R.L., Kuczyński L. 2016. Wood warblers copy settlement decisions of poor quality conspecifics: support for the tradeoff between the benefit of social information use and competition avoidance. Oikos, 125: 1561-1569, DOI: 10.1111/oik.03052

Szymkowiak J., Kuczyński L. 2015. Avoiding predators in a fluctuating environment: responses of the wood warbler to pulsed resources. Behavioral Ecology, 26: 601-608, DOI: 10.1093/beheco/aru237

Szymkowiak J., Kuczyński L. 2015. Predation-related costs and benefits of conspecific attraction in songbirds – an agent-based approach. PLoS ONE, 10: e0119132, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119132

Szymkowiak J. 2013. Facing uncertainty: how small songbirds acquire and use social information in habitat selection process? Springer Science Reviews, 1: 115-131, DOI: 10.1007/s40362-013-0012-9