How Having a Family Improves Digestion in Social Geese

Frontiers for Young Minds


As a human being, having family and friends helps us in many ways. Animal societies are not much different: a stable social environment is essential for the health of the body. Among birds, graylag geese are highly social. Therefore, they are a very good example for studying the benefits of living in groups. In this study, we looked at the quality of the digestion and the breeding success of 38 free-living graylag geese. The birds were individually tagged and belonged to different social categories. The categories were pairs with offspring, pairs without offspring, and unpaired birds. We found that individuals that have stable social relationships with their family members have better digestion and are more likely to breed successfully in the following breeding season. These are new insights into the benefits of social life in birds.

Frigerio, D., & Gegendorfer, G. (2020). How Having a Family Improves Digestion in Social Geese. Frontiers for Young Minds, 8, [540008].