Social pecking order gives roosters something to crow about | Science News

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Social pecking order gives roosters something to crow about

Highest ranking bird first to cock-a-doodle-doo at dawn

4:33pm, July 24, 2015
rooster crowing

Crowing first at dawn could be the privilege of rank in the pecking order of the rooster world.

In a rooster-peck-rooster world, rank has its privileges. The male at the peak of the pecking order almost always crows first in the morning, researchers say.

After the top bird’s inaugural cock-a-doodle-doo, subordinate roosters then crow, often in order of descending rank, says Tsuyoshi Shimmura of Nagoya University in Japan. Moving the top rooster away from the group inspires the second-ranked rooster to crow first, Shimmura and colleagues report July 23 in Scientific Reports. “The subordinate roosters compromise their circadian clock for social reasons,” Shimmura says.

The study shows just how tied to rank that signaling and other animal behaviors can be in a hierarchical system, says behavioral ecologist Jennifer Foote of Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. She studies dawn choruses, the natural burst of song that erupts from many wild birds

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