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The effect of prey consumption on territorial defense by harriers: differential responses to neighbors versus floaters

Summary

Food consumption may reduce fighting intensity of territory owners by decreasing resource value (additional food cannot be consumed) and/or increasing fighting costs (food in the digestive tract may raise injury risks). A territorial harrier's (Circus cyaneus, adult females) decision to reduce its level of aggression should depend upon whether or not the intruder was a competitor for individual prey items (as are smaller male floaters) or for the territory proper (as are female floaters and especially female neighbors). Accordingly, following meals, aggressive intensity of owners was strongly reduced towards male floaters (more were ignored), slightly reduced towards female floaters (more were called at than chased), and remained unchanged towards neighbors (virtually all were chased). Hence, alterations in aggressive behavior of territory owners following food consumption may depend upon the type of intruder and the resource under contest (a food item or a territory).

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Temeles, E.J. The effect of prey consumption on territorial defense by harriers: differential responses to neighbors versus floaters. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 24, 239–243 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00295203

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00295203

Keywords

  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Food Item
  • Adult Female
  • Food Consumption
  • Digestive Tract