Peahens can differentiate between the antipredator calls of individual conspecifics Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Animals of many different species discriminate among individuals based on acoustic properties of vocalizations. These vocalizations are produced in different contexts, including territorial defence and parent-offspring interactions. They are also produced in response to predators, but we know less about whether animals, especially birds, are able to discriminate among individuals based on antipredator calls. We therefore examined whether an avian species (peafowl, Pavo cristatus) is able to differentiate between the antipredator calls of different individuals. Using a habituation-discrimination playback paradigm, we habituated peahens to the antipredator calls of a given individual and then examined their responses to additional calls from that individual and to calls from a novel individual. We found that peahens responded more strongly to calls from the novel individual than from the original individual, demonstrating that they are able to differentiate between individuals based on the acoustic properties of antipredator calls. The ability to differentiate between individual callers may be useful to peahens in modifying their antipredator behaviour based on signaller reliability.

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Nichols, M. R., & Yorzinski, J. L.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • February 2016