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Optimal foraging in great tits (Parus major)


OPTIMAL foraging theory1–5 is based on the supposition that animals have been designed, by natural selection, to behave in a way that will maximise their inclusive fitness and that in terms of foraging this goal may be approximated by maximising the net rate of energy intake while feeding1–4. Therefore, given the constraints of any particular situation it is possible to predict how an animal ought to behave while foraging. I have tested an optimal foraging model which predicts how a predator should exploit patchily distributed prey. The results are consistent with the predictions of the model.

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COWIE, R. Optimal foraging in great tits (Parus major). Nature 268, 137–139 (1977).

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