Behaviour 2019
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Mobbing versus distress call response, support different urgency messages in a Neotropical bird community
Lui Sandoval, Josué Corrales. Universidad de Costa Rica, Montes de Oca, San Jose, Costa Rica

Birds produce two types of calls to indicate predator presence or avoid predation: mobbing and distress calls. Mobbing calls are used when predators are detected to inform other individuals about predator location, as a warning signal. Distress calls are used by prey when a predator captures it, as a help signal. Therefore, the urgency of response to both types of calls may vary. We determined using a playback experiment, the response of a Neotropical bird community to mobbing and distress calls. We used Black-striped Sparrow calls as stimuli because it is very common in the study area, increasing the possibility that the majority of other species are familiar with both types of calls. During each playback, we measured: time of the first vocalization, time of the first approach to 5m radius from the speaker, closer distance of approach to the speaker, and quantity of individuals per species that approached to 5m radius from the speaker. The community responded faster and more intense to distress calls than to mobbing calls. Possibly this is caused because distress calls encode information of the higher level of urgency of the prey-predator interaction and need faster attention.