Shyer and larger bird species show more reduced fear of humans when living in urban environments

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delBarco-Trillo, Javier
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The Royal Society
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As the natural habitats of many species are degraded or disappear, there is scope for these species to be established in urban habitats. To ease the establishment and maintenance of urban populations of more species we need to better understand what degree of phenotypical change to expect as different species transition into urban environments. During the first stages of urban colonization, behavioural changes such as an increase in boldness are particularly important. A consistent response in urban populations is to decrease the distance at which individuals flee from an approaching human (flight initiation distance, or FID). Performing a phylogenetic generalized least-squares (PGLS) analysis on 130 avian species, I found that the largest changes in FID between rural and urban populations occur in species that are larger-bodied and naturally shy (higher rural FID), two phenotypic traits that are not normally associated with urban colonizers. More unlikely species may thus be able to colonize urban environments, especially if we design cities in ways that promote such urban colonizations.
Flight-initiation distances , Rural populations , Risk-taking , Disturbance , Urbanization , Life , Habituation , Adaptation , Tolerance , Responses
delBarco-Trillo, J (2018) 'Shyer and larger bird species show more reduced fear of humans when living in urban environments'. Biology Letters, 14 (4). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0730
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.