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Territorial Aggression of a Tropical Passerine, Zonotrichia Capensis, in Response to a Variety of Conspecific Intruders

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[The expression of territorial aggression by reproductively active, resident birds varies between the sexes and in response to different intruder types. Previous studies have predicted that individuals should be more aggressive towards conspecific intruders of the same sex and tolerate intruders of the opposite sex and immature individuals. In this study, we investigated the behavioural responses of a tropical population of rufous-collared sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) to a variety of caged intruder types: Singing Males, Silent Males, Females, and Juveniles. In this species, territories are used by the resident male and female and their young, and are also used by floaters — mature individuals that do not hold territories. Resident males responded similarly and aggressively to all adult intruders in terms of song number, closest approach to the intruder, time within 5 m of the intruder, and a composite aggression score. There was no significant variation in the response of resident females to the different intruder types, although the strongest responses of the resident female were to female intruders. Neither resident males nor females behaved aggressively towards juvenile intruders. These results fail to support the observational predictions for males and females that individuals should be most aggressive towards members of the same sex, who pose the greatest threat in terms of cuckoldry and territorial takeover., The expression of territorial aggression by reproductively active, resident birds varies between the sexes and in response to different intruder types. Previous studies have predicted that individuals should be more aggressive towards conspecific intruders of the same sex and tolerate intruders of the opposite sex and immature individuals. In this study, we investigated the behavioural responses of a tropical population of rufous-collared sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) to a variety of caged intruder types: Singing Males, Silent Males, Females, and Juveniles. In this species, territories are used by the resident male and female and their young, and are also used by floaters — mature individuals that do not hold territories. Resident males responded similarly and aggressively to all adult intruders in terms of song number, closest approach to the intruder, time within 5 m of the intruder, and a composite aggression score. There was no significant variation in the response of resident females to the different intruder types, although the strongest responses of the resident female were to female intruders. Neither resident males nor females behaved aggressively towards juvenile intruders. These results fail to support the observational predictions for males and females that individuals should be most aggressive towards members of the same sex, who pose the greatest threat in terms of cuckoldry and territorial takeover.]

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/content/journals/10.1163/1568539042664605
2004-09-01
2015-07-06

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