ABS 2022
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Intentional use of attention-getters facilitates cooperative interactions in wild birds
Shai Markman1, Vlad Demartsev2, 3, Yitzchak Ben Mocha1, 4. 1University of Haifa - Oranim, Tivon, , Israel; 2Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, , Germany; 3Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz, , Germany; 4Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, Haifa, , Israel

Communicative acts that function to attract the recipient’s attention to the signaller fulfil a fundamental role in initiating cooperative interactions in humans. While non-human species were shown to use attention-getters according to environmental cues for difficulties in signal detection (e.g. low light), adjustment of attention-getters directly to the attentional state of recipients has not been shown in wild animals. Here, we show that wild Eurasian coots (Aves: Fulica atra; n = 20) selectively call toward non-attending chicks to solicit them to approach and take food. These attention-getters fulfil hallmarks that are used to infer first-order intentionality in humans and non-human species, as parents virtually never called when consuming food without chicks (n = 688 feeding events), were more likely to call when the chick did not look at them (n = 1220 feeding events) and were more likely to produce multiple calls when the chick did not approach them. These results demonstrate that a basic communicative skill to initiate cooperative interactions (i.e. feeding), upon its underlying flexible cognitive mechanism (i.e. intentionality), is also found in non-human species.