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Interspecific nest destruction in the Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus: kleptoparasitism or competition?


Bird nest destruction and nest material kleptoparasitism (i.e., the theft of nest material from other bird’s nests) are poorly documented behaviors, and little is known about the parasite species and their hosts. Here, I present the first account of nest material kleptoparasitism in the Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) followed by nest destruction, which occurred on a Variegated Flycatcher nest (Empidonomus varius). I explore the implications of these behaviors for both the kleptoparasite and the victim species and, due to the lack of basic information on the general behavior of both species, I point out some directions to guide future researches on the subject.

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Photographer Idalina Lelis de Freitas Souza documented the nest attack and kindly provided the images to illustrate this publication. I thank the AFAC (Associação para o Fomento da Arte e Cultura) for the full support for the development of the Bird Observatory Project at the Vicentina Aranha Park, a voluntary social project I develop aiming to provide nature-based experiences as a means for eco-literacy to the public through birdwatching activities.

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Correspondence to Vagner Luis Camilotti.

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Camilotti, V.L. Interspecific nest destruction in the Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus: kleptoparasitism or competition?. acta ethol 25, 61–64 (2022).

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  • Urban birds
  • Bird behavior
  • Breeding biology
  • Reproductive suppression