Breeding near heterospecifics as a defence against brood parasites : can redstarts lower probability of cuckoo parasitism using neighbours?
Moreras, A., Tolvanen, J., Tornberg, R., Mönkkönen, M., Forsman, J. T., & Thomson, R. L. (2022). Breeding near heterospecifics as a defence against brood parasites : can redstarts lower probability of cuckoo parasitism using neighbours?. Oecologia, 199(4), 871-883. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-022-05242-4
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaResurssiviisausyhteisöEcology and Evolutionary BiologySchool of Resource Wisdom
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Breeding habitat choice based on the attraction to other species can provide valuable social information and protection benefits. In birds, species with overlapping resources can be a cue of good quality habitats; species with shared predators and/or brood parasites can increase joint vigilance or cooperative mobbing, while raptors may provide a protective umbrella against these threats. We tested whether the migratory common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) is attracted to breed near active nests of the great tit (Parus major), a keystone-information source for migrant passerine birds, or a top predator, the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). This system is unique to test these questions because the redstart is a regular host for the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus). Therefore, we also evaluated other possible benefits coming from the heterospecific attraction, especially in terms of reducing brood parasitism risk. We monitored redstart occupancy rates, onset of breeding, reproductive investment, and followed nest outcomes in terms of brood parasitism, nest predation risk and overall reproductive success. Redstarts avoided breeding near goshawks, but showed neither attraction nor avoidance to breed next to great tits. Both neighbours neither reduced brood parasitism risk nor affected overall nesting success in redstarts. Redstarts may not use heterospecific attraction for settlement decisions, as associations with other species can only exist when some benefits are gained. Thus, environmental cues may be more important than social information for redstarts when breeding habitat choice. Other front-line defence strategies may have a better impact reducing breeding negative interactions, such brood parasitism. ...
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Additional information about fundingFunding was provided by a DST-NRF Centre of Excellence of South Africa, Academy of Finland (grants no. 12265 and 125720 to JTF, and grant no. 138049 to RLT), Kone Foundation (to JTF and JT), Kvantum Institute, Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica and Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse (to JT).
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