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Oriental reed warbler ( Acrocephalus orientalis) nest defence behaviour towards brood parasites and nest predators

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Brood parasites and predators pose different threats to passerines that may favour the evolution of enemy-specific defence strategies. Furthermore, potential sex-specific variation in parental investment may be manifested in differences between male and female nest defence behaviour. We investigated these hypotheses in Oriental reed warblers ( Acrocephalus orientalis), by recording sex- and stage-specific (nests with eggs or nestlings) responses to stuffed dummies placed at their nests. Warblers showed the highest level of aggression to the co-occurring parasite, the common cuckoo ( Cuculus canorus), colour morph (grey), but showed reluctance to mob or attack the co-occurring nest predator, the magpie ( Pica pica). There was a sex difference in rate of body attacks towards rufous morph common cuckoo, sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus) (locally absent parasite and predator, respectively) and the spotted dove ( Streptopelia chinensis) (locally present, harmless species), with females showing better ability to distinguish between these species than males.

Affiliations: 1: aCollege of Life Sciences, Liaoning University, Shenyang 110036, P.R. China; 2: bMinistry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P.R. China; 3: cMinistry of Education Key Laboratory for Tropical Animal and Plant Ecology, College of Life Sciences, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158, P.R. China; 4: dDepartment of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

10.1163/1568539X-00003295
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003295
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2015-09-29
2018-04-24

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