drongo bird mimic

So if I want to find drongo ‘Dave’, for example, I can walk into his territory, give a call and he’ll come flying over to me in return for a mealworm reward. A fascinating study by Sheppard [28] revealed that frequencies of visually mimetic butterfly species in the natural environment correlated with those of distasteful model species. The first syllable was harmonic and measurements were made on the fifth harmonic since this was the location of the peak frequency in all calls. I interpreted these as true alarms by these species. Interspecific responses by birds to each other's alarm calls, The value of constant surveillance in a risky environment, Imperfect Batesian mimicry: the effects of the frequency and the distastefulness of the model, The evolution of mimicry; a problem in ecology and genetics, Truth and deception in animal communication, Tactical deception of familiar individuals in baboons (, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Deceptive vocal duets and multimodal display in a songbird, Crying wolf to a predator: deceptive vocal mimicry by a bird protecting young, A ‘crying wolf’ game of interspecific kleptoparasitic mutualism, Interspecific signalling between mutualists: food-thieving drongos use a cooperative sentinel call to manipulate foraging partners. In addition to drongo-specific alarm calls, drongos made a number of alarm calls that appeared to be mimicry of true alarm calls made in response to predators by other species, including glossy starlings (Lamprotornis nitens), crowned plovers (Vanellus coronatus) and pied babblers (figure 1d–f). The meerkats and babblers at the study site are both the subject of ongoing scientific studies. calculated from models are shown. Adult vocalizations during provisioning: offspring response and postfledging benefits in wild pied babblers, Fork-tailed drongos account for heterospecific referential alarm calls systems when mimicking alarm calls, Suggested experimental designs for song playbacks, A mutual understanding? On 128 occasions an individual of another species (17 species) made a call when a known predatory species came into view, and the alarming species additionally fled to cover and/or watched the predator from a high perch. Consequently, this is the first study to show that false alarms are functionally deceptive and also demonstrates a novel function for vocal mimicry. Celebrate Africa and do good. Finally, I calculated the frequency of true alarm calls given per focal individual when foraging alone and the frequency of both true and false alarms given when following other species. The drongo study populations' range overlapped with the territories of 11 meerkat and 10 pied babbler groups, with which the drongos associated during the study period. In the drongo-specific alarm call playback experiment, the response time of meerkats and pied babblers to true or false alarm calls did not significantly differ, but were significantly longer than to non-alarm calls (figure 2a,c); further statistics for analyses of playback experiments are located in figures 1 and 2, and see electronic supplementary material, S2. R. Magrath kindly provided experimental glider designs and I am very grateful to two anonymous referees for their comments. Perhaps the best evidence of a function for vocal mimicry indicates that it is used deceptively by cuckoos whose chicks mimic the begging calls of host species, thus allowing them to evade rejection by host parents [7]. In this study, I therefore investigate whether fork-tailed drongos employ their own and mimicked false alarm calls in kleptoparasitism and test the three predictions outlined above to determine whether these false alarm calls are deceptive. Therefore, to determine what factors affect the response time of meerkats and pied babblers to calls and whether or not a target individual abandoned a food item, linear mixed models (LMMs) and generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were undertaken, respectively (see electronic supplementary material, S1 for further details). The species drongos targeted foraged in the open on the ground and it was therefore possible to see the behaviour of both the drongo under observation and the species that they interacted with at all times. (c) Pied babblers (n = 20) responded for longer to false (drongo-mimicked) and true glossy starling alarm calls than to non-alarm calls, but did not differ in their response to the false (drongo-mimicked) and true glossy starling alarm calls though glossy starling non-alarm calls elicited a longer response than the drongo non-alarm calls (LMM: χ23 = 119.57, p < 0.001 (see electronic supplementary material S2, table S4)). (a) Meerkats (n = 20) responded for longer and (b) were more likely to abandon food, in response to playback of false (drongo-mimicked) and true glossy starling alarm calls than to non-alarm calls of these species, but did not differ in their response to the false (drongo-mimicked) and true glossy starling alarm calls (LMM response time: χ23 = 50.44, p < 0.001; GLMM abandon food: χ23 = 11.72, p = 0.008 (see electronic supplementary material S2, table S3)). Bird watching at Parc Palais condominium. These false alarms not only influenced the target, but also other group members, which also fled to cover in 110/183 (60%) cases where their response was recorded. We can unravel the interactions between all these animals because different individuals are identifiable by coloured leg bands (in the case of the birds), or L’Oreal hair dye marks on the fur of the meerkats (don’t worry, it’s been tested on humans).”, In the course of his research on drongos, Dr Flower has habituated and colour-ringed about 200 birds living in 40 territories which overlap with those of the meerkats and babblers. He’ll rapidly get back to his natural behaviour, hawking flies or following meerkats and babblers to steal their food, allowing me to tag along and watch what happens.”. Factors affecting pup growth and survival in co-operatively breeding meerkats. However, they also follow other species, including pied babblers and meerkats, catching food that the species flush as they forage, and occasionally kleptoparasitize food directly from them [14,16]. (a,b,c) Sonograms from recordings; of drongo-specific chink alarm calls made in true and false contexts by three drongos; of true alarm calls made by model species in response to predators, and mimics of these calls made by drongos in false alarms: (d) glossy starling, (e) crowned plover, and (f) pied babbler. Drongos (n = 25) spent 27 ± 3% of their foraging time following target species including pied babblers (mean 15% following time, range 0–68%) and less frequently, meerkats (mean 1% following time, range 0–7%). The duration of the alarm response (seconds), timed from when the meerkat or pied babbler stopped handling the food item (scanned area or fled to cover) to when it resumed foraging, was recorded using a stopwatch. Furthermore, the racket-tailed drongo is known to learn the alarm calls of other species, employing these in true alarm contexts [19], and fork-tailed drongos also appear to do this (Flower in preparation). Further investigation of drongo call use could therefore provide valuable insights into the strategies employed by signallers in deceptive communication. CEO note: Reality check + another ‘problem’ elephant killed, Jens Cullmann, 2020 Photographer of the Year – gallery two, Forest elephants going hungry as climate change stops trees from fruiting. Vocal mimicry could therefore have large adaptive benefits in this system as drongos could change their alarm call type when their own drongo-specific calls become ineffective. This could explain why pied babblers did not abandon their food in response to playbacks of drongo-specific chink alarms, one of the most frequently made false alarm calls. Few people realise that perhaps the world’s most important field research project studying the evolution of cooperative societies is located in South Africa.”, Other species in the area are also habituated to people watching them at distances of less than five metres, including the drongos and another important species from which they steal food, a bird called the pied babbler. Figure 2. Previous studies of interactions between pied babblers and fork-tailed drongos have also suggested that drongos make alarm calls during kleptoparasitism [17]. Despite the prevalence of vocal mimicry in animals, few functions for this behaviour have been shown. To reduce the likelihood that the glossy starling true alarm calls were from the same individual, recordings were made at locations at least 800 m apart (location was recorded using a Garmin Etrex GPS). This was similar to their response to true alarms made by drongos when following target species (79/104 cases, 75%).

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