Louis A. Lefebvre

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The widely held hypothesis that enlarged brains have evolved as an adaptation to cope with novel or altered environmental conditions lacks firm empirical support. Here, we test this hypothesis for a major animal group (birds) by examining whether large-brained species show higher survival than small-brained species when introduced to nonnative locations.(More)
Several comparative research programs have focused on the cognitive, life history and ecological traits that account for variation in brain size. We review one of these programs, a program that uses the reported frequency of behavioral innovation as an operational measure of cognition. In both birds and primates, innovation rate is positively correlated(More)
Within the avian telencephalon, the dorsal ventricular ridge (DVR) contains higher order and multimodal integration areas. Using multiple regressions on 17 avian taxa, we show that an operational estimate of behavioral flexibility, the frequency of feeding innovation reports in ornithology journals, is most closely predicted by relative size of one of these(More)
Previous research suggests a link between innovation rate, neophobia and behavioural flexibility in the field and in captivity. In this paper we examine three correlates of flexibility in five opportunistic avian species that feed together in Barbados: three Passeriformes (the Carib grackle, Quiscalus lugubris, the Lesser Antillean bullfinch, Loxigilla(More)
Behavioural flexibility has long been thought to provide advantages for animals when they invade novel environments. This hypothesis has recently received empirical support in a study of avian species introduced to New Zealand, but it remains to be determined whether behavioural flexibility is a general mechanism influencing invasion success. In this study,(More)
Large brains, relative to body size, can confer advantages to individuals in the form of behavioral flexibility. Such enhanced behavioral flexibility is predicted to carry fitness benefits to individuals facing novel or altered environmental conditions, a theory known as the brain size-environmental change hypothesis. Here, we provide the first empirical(More)
One of the most widely cited cases of cultural transmission in animals is the opening of milk bottles by British birds. Bottle opening was first reported in Swaythling in 1921 and its spread from that date to 1947 was mapped by Fisher and Hinde (1949). Using data from Fisher and Hinde, this paper tests two quantitative models of cultural transmission: (1)(More)
The evolution of migration in birds remains an outstanding, unresolved question in evolutionary ecology. A particularly intriguing question is why individuals in some species have been selected to migrate, whereas in other species they have been selected to be sedentary. In this paper, we suggest that this diverging selection might partially result from(More)
A fundamental question in ecology is whether there are evolutionary characteristics of species that make some better than others at invading new communities. In birds, nesting habits, sexually selected traits, migration, clutch size and body mass have been suggested as important variables, but behavioural flexibility is another obvious trait that has(More)
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