Why Help? The Story of the Babblers
Why Help? The Story of the Babblers
Why Help? The Story of the Babblers
Why Help? The Story of the Babblers
Green Planet Films

Why Help? The Story of the Babblers

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The film explains the biological logic behind the altruism behavior, through the extraordinary research of Prof. Amotz Zahavi on cooperative breeding birds in the Israeli desert: the Arabian Babbler birds.

Produced and Directed by: Arnon Dattner
Photography by Yitzhak Ben Moha
27 Mins | 2015
Hebrew Language dubbed in English.  English subtitles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arabian babbler

The Arabian babbler (Turdoides squamiceps) is a passerine bird belonging to the genus Turdoides. It is a communally nesting resident bird of arid scrub in the Middle East which lives together in relatively stable groups with strict orders of rank.

Babblers dance and take baths together, offer each other gifts, clean themselves, and sometimes enter into conflict with each other for the privilege of helping another babbler. They may also feed their counterparts. This peculiar behaviour made them a privileged example for ethological theories concerning altruism among animals.

Starting in the 1970s, Amotz Zahavi observed the babbler at length, giving rise to his theory of signal and its correlative, the handicap principle. Although babblers were considered particularly altruistic animals, Zahavi reinterpreted their behaviours according to his theory. Thus, Zahavi (1974) theorized that chick feeding by Arabian babbler helpers acts as a signal by the helper to gain social prestige within the group.