What limits predator detection in blue tits (Parus caeruleus): posture, task or orientation
2003 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 54, no 6, 534-538 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
To detect threats and reduce predation risk prey animals need to be alert. Early predator detection and rapid anti-predatory action increase the likelihood of survival. We investigated how foraging affects predator detection and time to take-off in blue tits (Parus caeruleus) by subjecting them to a simulated raptor attack. To investigate the impact of body posture we compared birds feeding head-down with birds feeding head-up, but could not find any effect of posture on either time to detection or time to take-off. To investigate the impact of orientation we compared birds having their side towards the attacking predator with birds having their back towards it. Predator detection, but not time to take-off, was delayed when the back was oriented towards the predator. We also investigated the impact of foraging task by comparing birds that were either not foraging, foraging on chopped mealworms, or foraging on whole ones. Foraging on chopped mealworms did not delay detection compared to nonforaging showing that foraging does not always restrict vigilance. However, detection was delayed more than 150% when the birds were foraging on whole, live mealworms, which apparently demanded much attention and handling skill. Time to take-off was affected by foraging task in the same way as detection was. We show that when studying foraging and vigilance one must include the difficulty of the foraging task and prey orientation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 54, no 6, 534-538 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24587DOI: 10.1007/s00265-003-0665-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24587DiVA: diva2:197842