Alternative behavioral measures of postconflict affiliation

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Abstract

Animals are known to affiliate after conflicts rather than avoid each other. Affiliation can occur between former opponents or between a former opponent and a third-party, and is more common between individuals with high-quality relationships. We investigate postconflict (PC) affiliation in 3 species of corvid (crows) to examine how both sociality and analysis method influence this behavior. We hypothesized that 1) there will be no former opponent affiliation because the highest-quality relationships in these species are between mates who never fight, therefore eliminating the need to repair this relationship; and 2) colonial rooks and jackdaws will show third-party affiliation with partners, whereas the territorial Eurasian jays will not show this behavior because they lack high-quality relationships outside of the breeding season when their data were collected. PC affiliation is generally analyzed using the latency to first affiliative contact, however this method has limitations. We explore 2 different measures: the frequency and duration of affiliation across each observation session. There was no evidence of former opponent affiliation in rooks or jays, but some in jackdaws according to affiliation durations. Rooks and jackdaws showed third-party affiliation with mates according to affiliation frequencies and durations, and jays showed third-party affiliation according to affiliation durations, but with any individual, not just mates. We suggest that PC affiliation is best investigated using more than first affiliation latencies, and that the frequency and duration of affiliation may indicate whether affiliation is used to address PC stress.

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