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Birds gather information about their environment mainly through vision by scanning their surroundings. Many prevalent models of social foraging assume that foraging and scanning are mutually exclusive. Although this assumption is valid for birds with narrow visual fields, these models have also been applied to species with wide fields. In fact, available models do not make precise predictions for birds with large visual fields, in which the head-up, head-down dichotomy is not accurate and, moreover, do not consider the effects of detection distance and limited attention. Studies of how different types of visual information are acquired as a function of body posture and of how information flows within flocks offer new insights into the costs and benefits of living in groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Ecol Evol

Publication Date





25 - 31