Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Extended parental care of fledglings: parent birds adjust anti-predator response according to predator type and distance

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Parent birds are expected to show anti-predator responses when predators are in the vicinity of their fledglings and to modify their response in relation to perceived risk posed by the predator. We used the superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) to experimentally test predictions of the risk-based alarm call hypothesis, whereby alarm vocalisation response is a proxy for predator risk (type, distance). Our results showed that birds modified their response to three factors: predator type (snake, fox, stationary and gliding sparrowhawks), predator distance (close, distant) and fledgling presence. We found evidence of post-fledging parental care in response to the fox, which was significantly higher when fledglings were present irrespective of predator distance. However, fledgling presence was not related to alarm vocalisations to the snake or the sparrowhawks (only distance predicted vocalisation response). A comparison of the different types of vocalisations (terrestrial call, aerial call, alarm song) showed that alarm vocalisations were significantly related to predator type. Fledgling presence also affected the frequency of parental terrestrial alarm calls. We conclude that anti-predator response is a dynamic process that reflects offspring presence and perceived predation risk, with implications for understanding vocal communication in birds.

Affiliations: 1: School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia; 2: School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia;, Email:; 3: Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, 4125 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation