Predatory threat of harpy eagles for yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys in the Atlantic Forest

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We describe seven encounters between different harpy eagle individuals (Harpia harpyja) and a group of yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus xanthosternos) in Una Biological Reserve. These interactions lasted 58 min on average. In each of those encounters, the capuchin monkeys used particular behavioral strategies against the harpy eagle that were not employed in reaction to other aerial predators. We did not observe any successful predation events, but after one of those encounters an infant disappeared from the capuchin group. As a whole, these observations indicate that the presence of harpy eagles in the group’s home range increases predation risk for capuchin monkeys. The present report also suggests a reoccupation by H. harpyja of this area, as no previous recent records identify harpy eagle occurrence in Una Biological Reserve.

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We thank the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) for permission to conduct research in the Una Biological Reserve. We thank Dr. Tânia Sanaiotti for the classification of harpy eagle specimens by sex/age. We thank the reviewer Adrian Barnett for helpful comments and his careful review. We also thank Olga Fernández-Soriano and Jessica Lynch Alfaro for their English supervision. São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) granted a doctoral fellowship (PS: 10/51252-1), a postdoctoral fellowship (MV: 12/20107-1), and additional financial support (PI: 10/51455-0) for this research. Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) granted a postdoctoral fellowship (MV: 20131537).

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Correspondence to Priscila Suscke.

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This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (PS: 10/51252-1; PI: 10/51455-1 and MV: 12/20107-1) and by Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (MV: 20131537).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. We followed the laws and protocols of Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation. All research reported in this manuscript was authorized by ICMBio, including the capture of individuals for radio collar attachment and research within the Rebio Una (license numbers 22927-3, 22960-5 and 38939-1, respectively).

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Suscke, P., Verderane, M., de Oliveira, R.S. et al. Predatory threat of harpy eagles for yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys in the Atlantic Forest. Primates 58, 141–147 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10329-016-0557-8

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  • Harpia harpyja
  • Sapajus xanthosternos
  • Antipredator behavior
  • Alarm call
  • Predation risk
  • Prey–predator interaction