‘Shy’ male birds flock together – and have fewer friends

Male birds that exhibit ‘shy’ social behaviour are much more likely to join flocks of birds with a similar personality than their ‘bold’ male counterparts, a new study has found. But shy birds also have fewer social partners than bold birds.

The study of great tits (Parus major) also found that shy male and female birds don’t interact with as many different individuals as bold males or females, and that shy males and females tend to have more stable relationships than bold ones – being seen with the same individuals more often over time.

The work is part of a long-term project led by Professor Sheldon that involves tracking thousands of wild birds in Wytham Woods fitted with tiny tags that can be detected by sensors on 65 feeding stations. The researchers used records of the millions of feeder visits made by birds over an entire winter to reconstruct the social network – the pattern of with whom an individual interacts and how often – across an entire population.

Read more at University of Oxford