Social situations differ in their contribution to population-level social structure in griffon vultures

Nitika Sharma, Nili Anglister, Orr Spiegel, Noa Pinter-Wollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Social relationships among animals emerge from interactions in multiple ecological and social situations. However, we seldom ask how each situation contributes to the global structure of a population, and whether different situations contribute different information about social relationships and the position of individuals within the social fabric. Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) interact socially in multiple situations, including communal roosting, joint flights, and co-feeding. These social interactions can influence population-level outcomes, such as disease transmission and information sharing that determine survival and response to changes. We examined the unique contribution of each social and ecological situation to the social structure of the population and individuals' positions within the overall social network using high-resolution GPS tracking. We found that the number of individuals each vulture interacted with (degree) was best predicted by diurnal interactions?both during flights and on the ground (such as when feeding). However, the strength of social bonds, that is, the number of interactions an individual had (strength), was best predicted by interactions on the ground?both during the day (e.g., while feeding) and at night (e.g., while roosting) but not by interactions while flying. Thus, social situations differ in their impact on the relationships that individuals form. By incorporating the ecological situations in which social interactions occur we gain a more complete view of how social relationships are formed and which situations are important for different types of interactions.
Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere10139
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


  • collective movement
  • communal roosting
  • GPS-telemetry
  • Gyps fulvus
  • social environment
  • social foraging
  • social network analysis


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