Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 9–13 | Cite as

Predation risk and vigilance in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus)

  • Dennis William Lendrem


Feeding blue tits (Parus caeruleus) increase their scanning rates as predation risk increases. However scan durations remain constant. As risk increases the frequency distribution of inter-scan intervals shifts from a regular (rectangular) to a random (exponential) distribution with a 0.5 s constraint on the minimum inter-scan interval.

Cine analysis reveals that this 0.5 s constraint represents the minimum time needed to extract a piece of peanut from a feeder (the ‘handling time constraint’). Manipulating handling times by grinding peanuts to smaller sizes allows tits to adopt random scanning patterns.


Frequency Distribution Time Constraint Predation Risk Minimum Time Scanning Rate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis William Lendrem
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Behaviour Research GroupDepartment of ZoologyOxfordEngland

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