Arabian babblers have been studied in Hatzeva, Israel, by the late Amotz Zahavi and his wife Avishag for more than 40 years. The babblers taught us many lessons about sociality and communication. Our lab is part of a group of researchers that continue to study the same population of babblers.
Arabian babblers live in relatively small groups that may include multiple females and males. They are obligate cooperative breeders, i.e. some individuals help the breeding pair to raise each brood, but do not reproduce at the same time. the exact demographic composition of each group determines the types to conflicts within that group.
We are currently characterizing the social interactions within each group, based on observations of habituated individuals. These interactions include group foraging, aggression, allofeeding, allopreening, and play, among other behaviors. We are interested in the seasonal dynamics of these networks of interactions, and whether some interaction types are correlated.