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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 57–63 | Cite as

Northern harriers on feeding territories respond more aggressively to neighbors than to floaters

  • Ethan J. Temeles
Article

Summary

Territory owners often respond less aggressively towards intruding neighbors than towards intruding floaters, an observation termed “the dear enemy phenomenon.” Comparisons of territory owners' responses to intruding neighbors versus their responses to intruding floaters usually have been made for owners of multi-purpose and/or breeding territories. Here, I describe responses of female northern harriers Circus cyaneus (owners) on winter feeding territories towards three types of intruders (female neighbors, female floaters, and male floaters) and show that the dear enemy phenomenon does not occur. Owners' responses towards neighbors were more intense (mostly flights rather than calls) than responses towards female floaters, which in turn were more intense than responses towards male floaters. The greater intensity of owners' responses towards neighbors compared to owners' responses towards male and female floaters may be related to differences in the threat posed by each of the three intruder types in terms of fighting ability (RHP) and potential losses from intrusion. Hence, whether owners respond more aggressively towards neighbors or floaters, and whether the dear enemy phenomenon is observed, may depend upon the relative magnitude of threat presented by neighbors and floaters to owners in terms of fighting ability and potential losses from intrusion.

Keywords

Relative Magnitude Great Intensity Potential Loss Breeding Territory Fighting Ability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethan J. Temeles
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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