Study: Roosters wait their turn to crow based on group hierarchy
A rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo may be familiar to most, but scientists are continuing to learn more about the distinctive behavior.
According to new research, the crows are sounded according to social order, with the most senior rooster giving off the first call.
The study abstract even notes, "When the top-ranking rooster was physically removed from a group, the second-ranking rooster initiated crowing" -- and hierarchy among them is so well-established that the junior roosters willingly wait until it's their turn to act despite biological signals to do so earlier.
In the experiment, researchers grouped several roosters together and allowed them to establish seniority levels. This determination is usually made by immediately pecking at each other until the stronger members defeat the weaker ones.
After nearly a month of observation under different conditions, the dominant rooster was found to crow first, then the others followed in a descending line of seniority regardless of lighting and timing.
Though it is unknown exactly why the birds make the sound, members of the same research team determined in 2013 that it is likely influenced by circadian rhythms, not by light.