The Releaser Concept in Bird Behaviour


LORENZ1 has provided a wealth of data and analysis to show that many instinctive acts in birds are ‘released’ not by the external situation as a whole, but by some characteristic part of it. This greatly assists in explaining the evolution of plumage patterns and rhythmical movements in display in birds, particularly with regard to their ‘improbable’ and specific nature.

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  1. 1

    Lorenz, K., J. Orn., 83, 137–213, 289–413 (1938); Auk, 54, 245–273 (1937).

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  2. 2

    Lack, D., Proc. Zool. Soc., A, 109, 200–216 (1939).

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LACK, D. The Releaser Concept in Bird Behaviour. Nature 145, 107–108 (1940).

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