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Zadarex OP t1_jeeoaty wrote

In social animals that form flocks, individuals compete or cooperate to gain access to shared resources. In particular, group-foraging individuals frequently engage in aggressive interactions with conspecifics, including threat displays and physical attacks, in order to acquire food resources. Here, we investigated social interactions in flocks of captive tree sparrows (Passer montanus) to observe the formation of dominance hierarchies. We also examined correlations between social status and morphological traits to identify which physical traits act as indicators of dominance. To do so, we recorded aggressive behaviours (attacks and threats) of tree sparrows caught in two distinct regions in the Republic of Korea (Gwangju and Gurye). After merging the two groups, we examined dominance structures using David’s scores for one month, and we recorded 1,051 aggressive interactions at a feeder in a group of 19 individuals. Using the number of aggressions and attack and threat behaviours, we tested whether morphological traits and sex influenced dominance structures. Aggressions were significantly more frequent in males than in females. However, no significant difference was observed the frequency of between- and within-sex aggression. In addition, differences in the frequency of aggression behaviours were observed between capture-site groups. Dominance structure was significantly correlated with certain morphological traits; specifically, the frequency of attacking behaviours was correlated with bill-nose length, and the frequency of threat displays was correlated with sex and badge size. These results suggest that social signals are closely related to morphological traits that are used to form dominance hierarchies in tree sparrow flocks.