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The "Kumpan" of the Common Guillemot
Common Guillemot
Summary

Lorenz applied von Uexküll's ideas of Umwelt and Kumpan to the behaviour of birds A "releaser" is an object that triggers a certain behaviour in an organism. "Kumpan" are releasers that are con-specifics to the organism. Lorenz distinguishes "Kumpan", which release only one type of behaviour, with "companions", that may release a number of specific contextual behaviours. He indentifies five types of companion in the subjective world (umwelt) of a bird. These are the parent-companion, the child-companion, the sex-companion, the social companion, and the brother-and-sister-companion.

the releasing functions of the parent-companion:

  • (a) the releasing of begging reactions,
  • (b) of food-taking reactions,
  • (c) of following reactions,
  • (d) of responses to warning, and
  • (e) of the responses to being defended by the parent.
The releasing functions of the child-companion:
  • (a) the releases of feeding reactions,
  • (b) of nest-cleaning reactions,
  • (c) of leading reactions,
  • (d) of defence reactions,
  • (e) of other life-saving reactions,
  • (f) of brooding reactions,
  • (g) the responses to the disappearance of the child-companion.
The releasing functions of the sex-companion:
  • (a) the interlocking of instinctive actions pertaining to mating
  • (b) the synchronization of mating cycles
  • (c) the interlocking of instinctive actions in nest-building
  • (d) the releasing reactions leading to copulation
  • (e) the interlocking of instinctive actions pertaining to nest-relief
  • (f) the responses to the disappearance of the sex-companion
The releasing functions of the social companion:
  • (a) inducing of reaction by 'contagion' and so-called imitation
  • (b) the releasing of following reactions
  • (c) of responses to warning
  • (d) of social attack reactions
  • (e) the interlocking of instinctive actions pertaining to the pecking-order and to nest-protection
  • (f) responses to the disappearance of the social companion
The releasing functions of the brother-and-sister-companion:
  • (a) the releasing of following reactions
  • (b) inducing of reactions by 'contagion'
  • (c) the releasing of responses to warning
  • (d) of communal defence reactions
  • (e) the responses to the diasppearance of the brother-and-sister companion
  • (f) the interlocking of instinctive actions pertaining to the pecking-order

Tschanz investigated how breeding Guillemots maintain inter-brood isolation.

  1. The relationship between adult and young before hatching
    • a) Hatching activity
    • b) Influence of the chick in the egg on the parents
    • c) Influence of the parent on the chick in the egg
    • d) Experimental investigation of the learning capacity of the chick in the egg
    • e) Learning phases
  2. Relationship between adult and young after hatching
    • a) Behaviour of the chick towards the parents and stranger birds under "normal" conditions
    • b) Experimental evidence of the specific effect of parental calls on newly hatched young
    • c) Behaviour of "orphans" towards stranger birds
    • d) Experimental evidence of the learning capacity of chicks for new calls
  3. Capacity for differentiating auditory stimuli
  4. Learning of visual stimuli associated with food and shelter
  5. Effectiveness of visual vs auditory stimuli

What companions are present on the breeding ledge?

  • The releasing functions of the egg
    • defence reactions. Video: single adult losing egg.
    • incubating reactions. Video: normal reactions vs egg abandonment (Pair G, 8th July 2014)
    • responses to the disappearance of the egg. Video: adult attempting to incubate lost egg. (Tactile stronger than visual?)
  • The releasing functions of the parents on the chick in the egg
    • egg rolling (Tschanz)
    • nest relief (Tschanz)
    • before the formation of the pipping-hole, any adult calls (Tschanz)
    • after the formation of the pipping-hole, only the egg-acceptance/luring call of its parents (Tschanz)
  • The releasing functions of the chick in the egg on the parents
    • calls of the chick in the egg (Tschanz)
    • bill activity of the chick in the egg (Tschanz)
  • The releasing functions of the hatched chick on the adult
    • (a) the releases of feeding reactions. Increase in rate of fish returned to ledge.
    • (b) of nest-cleaning reactions,
    • (c) of leading reactions. Learning of departure calls. Start of chick at sea stage.
    • (d) of defence reactions. Defence from neighbouring adults. Mutually defence from gulls, etc.
    • (e) of other life-saving reactions,
    • (f) of brooding reactions. Normal brooding. Conflicting desires of each parent to brood. Allobrooding
    • (g) the responses to the disappearance of the chick. Normal reaction is the female reaction to the disappearance of both her partner and their chick. The second reaction is the pair after the loss of their chick. The third reaction occurs when the male loses the chick at sea and returns to his partner on the ledge.
  • Allo-chicks
  • Allo-parents
  • Partner/mate
  • Ledge conspecifics
  • Non-conspecifics

Notes


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References

  • Tschanz, B. (1968) "Trottellummen: Die Entstehung der persönlichen Beziehungen zwischen Jungvogel und Eltern " Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie 4 Beiheft 1-103
    [notes]
  • Lorenz, K.Z. (1937) "The Companion in the Bird's World" The Auk 54:245-273
    [notes]