Weaver news

Sociable Weaver specimens needed

2012-04-26 (213)

Margaux Rat is a PhD student working on Sociable Weavers with Rita Covas. She needs to urgently find stuffed Sociable Weavers (or dead ones) to use as lures. Margaux's request reads as follows:

"I am PhD student based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. I am working with an international collaborative team on sociable weavers. This team involves researchers from Portugal (Dr. Rita Covas), England (Dr. Rene Van Dijck and Pr. Ben Hatchwell), France (Dr. Claire Doutrelant) and South Africa (Pr. Phil Hockey and myself). Some major aspects of our works involve population dynamics, cooperation and conflict, sexual selection or maternal effects.

For more precision on the project and the team, you may consult our webpage here.

Concerning my part of the project, I am mainly investigating how social interactions may help to maintain cooperation in this species. For one experiment (and potentially more), I would truly benefit from the use of stuffed sociable weavers. I would like to manipulate the size of the bib (enlarged and reduced) of a couple of stuffed sociable weavers. The goal is to determinate if the black bib is a trait signaling social status in this species.

We have tried to find naturally dead sociable weavers in the field to stuff but it is not an easy task as they are often quickly removed by predators and scavengers or too damaged to be mounted. Also, we are really concerned about ethics and we do not want to kill any bird for our research purposes. This leaves us with very few opportunities to get stuffed models.

Consequently, I am contacting you to know if you would not mind to keep aside (in a freezer) any dead sociable weavers (not too damaged) you may encounter during your future birding/ringing trips. It would really contribute to our research."

Contact Margaux: margaux.rat [at] gmail.com