The American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) as a paradigm for adult automimicry
- Tex A. Sordahl
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
The body of theory concerning life-history strategies predicts that the duration of high-mortality stages should be minimized by natural selection. This is especially applicable to the avian pre-flight stage, during which growth rates typically are rapid. Using the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) as a paradigm, I propose a developmental strategy by which young animals can lower their mortality rates by an accelerated (and deceptive) acquisition of adult or adult-like characters. The benefit accrues when predators misidentify the vulnerable young as adults and fail to attack them because adults are much less vulnerable. This strategy, termed adult automimicry, is most likely to occur in precocial species living in open habitats.
American Avocets are large, precocial, open-country shorebirds that first fly when about 4–5 weeks old. They develop a juvenal, plumage in their third week that resembles adult breeding plumage in pattern and color, even though plumage details are different. At this time chicks begin using adult foraging techniques and tend to move away rather than hide from potential predators. A few weeks later they acquire a first winter plumage that resembles adult winter plumage. Thus, avocet chicks appear unusually adult-like after their second week. This should make it difficult for distant predators to distinguish flightless chicks from volant adults.
- Baker, R. R. and Parker, G. A. (1979) The evolution of bird coloration.Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. (B) 287, 63–130.
- Bent, A. C. (1927). Life histories of North American shorebirds. Part I.U.S. National Museum Bulletin 142, 1–420.
- Brower, L. P. (1969) Ecological chemistry.Sci. Amer. 220(2) 22–9.
- Cott, H. B. (1940).Adaptive Coloration in Animals. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA.
- Curio, E. (1976).The Ethology of Predation, Springer Verlag, New York, NY, USA.
- Fjeldså, J. (1977)Guide to the Young of European Precocial Birds. Skarv, Strandgarden, Denmark.
- Gibson, F. (1971) The breeding biology of the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) in central Oregon.Condor 73, 444–54.
- Hailman, J. P. (1977)Optical Signals: Animal Communication and Light. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, USA.
- Hamilton, R. B. (1975) Comparative behavior of the American Avocet and the Black-necked Stilt (Recurvirostridae).Ornith. Monog.,17, 1–98.
- Kushlan, J. A. (1977). The significance of plumage colour in the formation of feeding aggregations of ciconiiforms.Ibis 119, 361–4.
- Makkink, G. F. (1936) An attempt at an ethogram of the European Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta L.), with ethological and psychological remarks.Ardea 25, 1–62.
- Norman, D. O. (1977) A role for plumage color in Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) parent-offspring interactions.Behaviour 62, 314–21.
- Palmer, R. S. (1967) Plumage descriptions and species accounts. InThe Shorebirds of North America. (G. D. Stout, ed.), Viking Press, New York, NY. USA.
- Paulson, D. R. (1973). Predator polymorphism and apostatic selection.Evolution 27, 269–77.
- Porter, R. D. and White, C. M. (1973) The Peregrine Falcon in Utah, emphasizing ecology and competition with the Prairic Falcon.Brigham Young Univ. Sci. Bull. Biol. Ser. 18 1–74.
- Prater, A. J., Marchant, J. H., and Vuorinen, J. (1977) Guide to the identification and ageing of Holarctic waders.British Trust Ornith. Field Guide 17, 1–168.
- Procter-Gray, E., and Holmes, R. T. (1981) Adaptive significance of delayed attainment of plumage in male American Redstarts: tests of two hypotheses.Evolution 35, 742–51.
- Ricklefs, R. E. (1973) Patterns of growth in birds. II. Growth rate and mode of development.Ibis 115, 177–201.
- Rohwer, S., Fretwell, S. D. and Niles, D. M. (1980) Delayed maturation in passerine plumages and the deceptive acquisition of resources.Amer. Natur. 115, 400–37.
- Sordahl, T. A. (1981) Phenology and status of the shorebirds in northern Utah.Western Birds 12, 173–80
- Sordahl, T. A. (1982) Antipredator behavior of American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt chicks.J. Field Ornith. 53, 315–25.
- Sordahl, T. A. (1984) Observations on breeding site fidelity and pair formation in American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts.North American Bird Bander 9(2), 8–11.
- Sordahl, T. A. (1986) Evolutionary aspects of avian distraction display: variation in American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt antipredator behavior. InDeception: Perspectives on Human and Nonhuman Deceit (R. W. Mitchell and N. S. Thompson, eds.) pp. 87–112, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, USA.
- Steenhof, K., Kochert, M. N. and Doremus, J. H. (1983) Nesting of subadult Golden Eagles in southwestern Idaho.Auk 100, 743–7.
- Turner, E. L. (1921) The avocet at home.British Birds 14, 194–202.
- Vane-Wright, R. I. (1976) A unified classification of mimetic resemblances.Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 8, 25–56.
- Waldbauer, G. P., Sternburg, J. G. and Maier, C. T. (1977) Phenological relationships of wasps, bumblebees, their mimics, and insectivorous brids in an Illinois sand area.Ecology 58, 583–91.
- Watson, D. (1977)The Hen Harrier T. & A. D. Poyser, Berkhamsted, UK.
- Wickler, W. (1968)Mimicry in Plants and Animals, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.
- Williams, G. C. (1966)Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA.
- The American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) as a paradigm for adult automimicry
Volume 2, Issue 3 , pp 189-196
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- Adult automimicry
- life-history strategies
- antipredator adaptations
- American Avocet
- Recurvirostra americana
- Industry Sectors
- Tex A. Sordahl (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Biology, Luther College, 52101, Decorah, Iowa, USA