Nestling presence affects the anti-predator response of adult superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus)
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- Colombelli-Négrel, D., Robertson, J. & Kleindorfer, S. acta ethol (2010) 13: 69. doi:10.1007/s10211-010-0072-7
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Nest predation accounts for the majority of nesting failure, and hence there has been strong selection on behaviour to reduce nest predation, including patterns of nest defence. Here, we test risk-taking behaviour to experimentally placed predators in the presence or absence of nestlings. We use the superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) to test the prediction that vigilance will be comparable with and without nestlings, but that alarm vocalisations will increase when nestlings are present. We found support for both predictions. Adult vigilance of predators was comparable with and without nestlings. Alarm vocalisation intensity was predicted by predator type and nestling presence, and was highest to the snake model in the presence of nestlings. These results point to selection for differentiated nest defence response in relation to predator type and the presence or absence of nestlings.