Paper published: Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns

Our paper ‘Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns’ was published today in The Royal Society Open Science (DOI:10.1098/rsos.150074).

People can be individually identified by their handwriting or by their artistic creations, including architectural designs. Like us, animals build physical structures, including nests. To determine whether we could assign a construction signature to nest-building weaverbirds we collaborated with texture analysis expert André Backes from Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Brazil, using computer-aided texture analysis to classify the weave patterns in their nests. We found that individual weaverbirds did indeed produce nests with signature weave patterns. This shows both that like us individual animals have distinct construction styles and that texture analysis can be used to detect this individuality.

Four nest built by two Southern Masked weaverbirds illustrating differences in nest texture between males. The two nests in the top row are built by male (A) and those in the bottom row by male (B).

Four nest built by two Southern Masked weaverbirds illustrating differences in nest texture between males. The two nests in the top row are built by male (A) and those in the bottom row by male (B).

Nest building in the brain: papers

Hall, Z.J., Street, S.E., Auty, S., & Healy, S.D. 2015. The coevolution of building nests on the ground and domed nests in Timaliidae. The Auk: July 2015, Vol. 132, No. 3, pp. 584-593.

Hall, Z.J., Healy, S.D. &. Meddle, S.L. 2015. A role for nonapeptides and dopamine in nest-building behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 27: 158-165.

Hall, Z.J., Bertin, M., Bailey, I.E., Meddle, S.L. & Healy, S.D.  2014.  Neural correlates of nesting behavior in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Behavioural Brain Research 264:  26-33.

Hall, Z. J., Street, S. & Healy, S.D. 2013. The evolution of cerebellum structure correlates with nest complexity. Biology Letters 9: 20130687

Nest colour papers

Bailey, I. E., Muth, F., Morgan, K., Healy, S. D. 2015. Birds build camouflaged nests. AUK 132 (1): 11-15  

Muth, F., Steele, M., Healy, S.D. 2013. Colour preferences in nest-building zebra finches. Behavioural processes 99: 1-6-111 

Muth, F. Healy, S.D. 2012. Zebra Finches build nests that do not resemble their natal nest. Avian Biology Research 5 (4): 218-226

Muth, F., Healy, S.D. 2011. The role of adult experience in the nest building zebra finch. Animal Behaviour 82 (2): 185-189

Individuality papers

Bailey, I. E., Backes, A., Walsh, P.T., Morgan, K.V., Meddle, S.L., & Healy, S.D. 2015. Image analysis of weaverbird nests reveals signature weave patterns. The Royal Society Open Science, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150074

Walsh, P.T., Hansell, M., Borello, W.D. & Healy, S.D. 2013. Are elaborate bird nests built using simple rules? Avian Biology Research 6 (2): 1-6 

Walsh, P.T., Hansell, M., Borello, W.D., Healy, S.D. 2011. Individuality in nest building: Do Southern Masked weaver (Ploceus velatus) males vary in their nest-building behaviour? Behavioural Processes 88 (1): 1-6

Walsh, P.T., Hansell, M., Borello, W.D., Healy, S.D. 2010. Repeatability of nest morphology in African weaver birds. Biology Letters 6(2): 149-151

Cognition and the brain

Griffin, A.S., Gillette, L.M. & Healy, S.D. 2015. Cognition and personality: an analysis of an emerging field. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 1907: 1-8

Rowe, C. & Healy, S.D. 2014.  Measuring cognition will be difficult but worth it: a response to comments on Rowe and Healy. Behavioral Ecology 25(6): 1298

Rowe, C. & Healy, S.D. 2014.Measuring variation in cognition. Behavioral Ecology 25(6): 1287-1292

Healy, S.D., Hurly, T.A. 2013. What hummingbirds can tell us about cognition in the wild. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Review 8: 13-28.

Healy, S.D. & Rowe, C. 2013. Costs and benefits of evolving a larger brain: Doubts over the evidence that large brains lead to better cognition. Animal Behaviour 86: E1-E3.

Healy, S.D. 2012. Animal cognition: The trade off to being smart. Current Biology 22: R840-R841

Rowe, C., & Healy, S.D. 2010. Is Bigger Always Better? Science 333: 708-709. 

Healy, S. D., I. E. Bacon, O. Haggis, A. P. Harris, and L. A. Kelley. 2009. Explanations for variation in cognitive ability. Behavioural Processes 80: 288-294.

Healy, S.D. & Rowe, C. 2007. A critique of comparative studies of brain size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274 (609): 453-464.

Healy, S.D. & Hurly, T.A. 2003. Cognitive ecology: Foraging in hummingbirds as a model system. Advances in the Study of Behavior 23: 325-359.

Hampton, R.R., Healy, S.D., Shettleworth, S.J. & Kamil, A.C. 2002. `Neuroecologists’ are not made of straw. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (1): 6-7.

Healy, S.D. & Jones, C.M. 2002. Animal learning and memory: an integration of cognition and ecology. Zoology 105 (4): 321-327.

Biegler, R., McGregor, A., Krebs, J.R. & Healy, S.D. 2001. A larger hippocampus is associated with longer-lasting spatial memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  98 (12): 6941-6944.

Healy, S. & Braithwaite, V. 2000. Cognitive ecology: a field of substance? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15 (1): 22-26.

Healy, S. 1999. Cognitive ecology: The evolutionary ecology of information processing and decision making. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section B Comparative and Physiological Psychology 52 (2): 187-189.

Healy, S.D. 1994. Animal memory and adaptation. Recherche 25 (267): 768-773.

Healy, S. & Guilford, T. 1990. Olfactory-bulb size and nocturnality in birds. Evolution 44 (2): 339-346.

Healy, S.D. & Harvey, P.H. 1990. Comparative studies of the brain and its components. Netherlands Journal of Zoology 40 (1-2): 203-214.

Spatial memory papers

Flores-Abreu, I. N., Hurly, T.A., Ainge, J.A. & Healy, S.D.  2014.  3-D space: locomotory style explains memory differences in rats and hummingbirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281: 1784

Hurly, T.A., Fox, T.A., Zwueste, D. M. & Healy, S.D.  2014. Wild hummingbirds rely on landmarks not geometry when learning an array of flowers. Animal Cognition 17 (5): 1157-1165

Flores-Abreu, I. N., Hurly, T.A. & Healy, S.D. 2013. Three-dimensional spatial learning in hummingbirds. Animal Behaviour 85: 579-584.

Mishra, C. E. B., I. E. Bailey, S. Healy, and T. A. Hurly. 2012. Systematic Spatial Foraging Patterns in Hummingbird Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus). Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology-Revue Canadienne De Psychologie Experimentale 66:300-300.

Henderson, J., T. A. Hurly, and S. D. Healy. 2006. Spatial relational learning in rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus). Animal Cognition 9 (3): 201-205.

Hodgson, Z.G. & Healy, S.D. 2005. Preference for spatial cues in a non-storing songbird species. Animal Cognition 8 (3): 211-214.

Healy, S. D. and T. A. Hurly. 2004. Spatial learning and memory in birds. Brain Behavior and Evolution 63: 211-220.

Healy, S. D. and T. A. Hurly. 2001. Foraging and spatial learning in hummingbirds. Animal behaviour and floral evolution. Editors: Chittka, Lars; Thomson, James D: 127-147

Henderson, J., T. A. Hurly, and S. D. Healy. 2001. Rufous hummingbirds’ memory for flower location. Animal Behaviour 61: 981-986.

Healy, S. D. and T. A. Hurly. 1998. Rufous Hummingbirds’ (Selasphorus rufus) Memory for Flowers- Patterns or Actual Spatial Locations? Journal of Experimental Psychology-Animal Behavior Processes 24: 396-404.

Hurly, T. A. and S. D. Healy. 1996. Memory for flowers in rufous hummingbirds-location or local visual cues? Animal Behaviour: 1149-1157.

Healy, S. D. and T. A. Hurly. 1995. Spatial memory in rufous hummingbirds: A field test. Animal Learning & Behavior: 63-68.

Food storing

Healy, S.D., de Kort, S.R. & Clayton, N.S. 2005. The hippocampus, spatial memory and food hoarding- a puzzle revisited. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (1): 17-22

Healy, S.D. & Krebs, J.R. 1996. Food storing and the hippocampus in Paridae. Brain Behavior and Evolution 47 (4): 195-199.

Healy, S.D. & Suhonen, J. 1996. Memory for locations of stored food in willow tits and marsh tits. Behaviour 133 (1-2): 71-80.

Krebs, J.R., Clayton, .N.S., Healy, S.D., Cristol, D.A., Patel, S.N. & Jolliffe, A.R. 1996. The ecology of the avian brain: Food-storing memory and the hippocampus. IBIS 138: 34-46.

Healy, S.D. 1995. Memory for objects and positions: Delayed non-matching to sample in storing and nonstoring tits. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section B Comparative and Physiological Psychology 48 (2): 179-191.

Healy, S.D., Clayton, N.S. & Krebs, J.R. 1994. Development of hippocampal specialization in two species of tit (Parus spp). Behavioural Brain Research 61 (1): 23-28.

Healy, S.D. & Krebs, K.R. 1993. Development of hippocampal specialisation in a food-storing bird. Behavioural Brain Research 53 (1-2): 127-131.

Healy, S.D. & Krebs, J.R. 1992. Food storing and the hippocampus in corvids: Amount and volume are correlated. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 248 (1323): 241-245.

Healy, S.D. & Krebs, J.R. 1992.Comparing spatial memory in two species of tit- Recalling a single positive location. Animal Learning & Behavior 20 (2): 121-126.

Krebs, J.R., Healy, S.D. & Shettleworth S.J. 1990. Spatial memory of Paridae: Comparison of a storing and a non storing species, the Coal tit, Parus ater, and the Great tit, P major. Animal Behaviour 39 (6): 1127-1137.

Shettleworth, S.J., Krebs, J.R., Healy, S.D., Thomas, C.M. 1990. Spatial memory of food-storing tits (Parus ater and Parus atricapillus): Comparison of storing and nonstoring tasks. Journal of Comparative Psychology 104 (1): 71-81.

Krebs, J.R., Hilton, S.C., Healy, S.D., Edelman, G.M., Gall, W.E. & Cowan, W.M. 1990. Memory in food-storing birds: Adaptive specialization in brain and behavior. In G. M. Edelman, W. E. Gall, & W. M. Cowan (Eds.), Signal and sense: Local and global order in perceptual maps. New York. Springer:  475-498.

Krebs, J.R., Sherry, D.F., Healy, S.D., Perry, V.H. & Vaccarino, A.L. 1989. Hippocampal specialization of food-storing birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 86 (4): 1388-1392.