Soldiers regularly engage in a period of rest and recuperation with their comrades following active service in a conflict zone. My work reveals that birds act similarly.

Green woodhoopoe group members increased their preening of one another following conflict with neighbouring groups, especially when they lost the battle or it lasted a long time (the most stressful situations). In particular, dominants increased their allopreening of subordinates, perhaps encouraging them to stand and fight in future conflicts.

These results support the theoretical prediction that the level of between-group conflict should influence the amount of cooperation and affiliation shown between group members.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Proceedings B is the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews and comment and reply papers. The scope of journal is diverse and is especially strong in organismal biology.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

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