Oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) nest defence behaviour towards brood parasites and nest predators
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBehaviour. 2015, 152 (12-13), 1601-1621. 10.1163/1568539X-00003295
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.