Volume 41 Issue 3
May  2020
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Jiao-Jiao Wang, Lai-Kun Ma, Wei Liang, Can-Chao Yang. Responses of cuckoo hosts to alarm signals of different nest intruders in non-nesting areas. Zoological Research, 2020, 41(3): 345-350. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.030
Citation: Jiao-Jiao Wang, Lai-Kun Ma, Wei Liang, Can-Chao Yang. Responses of cuckoo hosts to alarm signals of different nest intruders in non-nesting areas. Zoological Research, 2020, 41(3): 345-350. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.030

Responses of cuckoo hosts to alarm signals of different nest intruders in non-nesting areas

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.030
Funds:  This study was supported by the Hainan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2019RC189 to C.C.Y.), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31672303 to C.C.Y. and 31970427 to W.L.), and Hainan Provincial Innovative Research Program for Graduates (Hyb2019-34 to J.J.W.)
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail: ccyang@hainnu.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 2020-01-03
  • Accepted Date: 2020-03-20
  • Available Online: 2020-03-20
  • Publish Date: 2020-05-18
  • The “call for help” hypothesis proposes that alarm calls produced by a bird can transmit warning information to both conspecific and interspecific neighbors. Neighbors who are attracted by social transmission might benefit from knowing about the presence of danger or by gaining information about the presence of predators or brood parasites nearby. Brood parasite hosts can distinguish threats from different intruders and exhibit varied responses correspondingly. However, most previous studies have conducted sound playback at host nest sites and focused on conspecific individuals attracted by the alarm calls. In this study, we used random location playback to investigate the responses of different host species to alarm signals of oriental reed warblers (Acrocephalus orientalis) toward different intruders (brood parasite, predator, and harmless control) in order to reveal how hosts evaluate different threats from different intruders using vocal information in non-nesting areas during the breeding season. We found that the alarm calls given in response to different intruders incurred similar numbers of approaching species for both conspecific and interspecific birds. However, the number of attracted individuals differed significantly among the various species, with conspecifics and vinous-throated parrotbills (Paradoxornis webbianus) dominating, both of which are major hosts of common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus). Nevertheless, interspecific birds did not present any aggressive behavior according to the alarm calls, which implied that visual information may be needed for further confirmation of threats. In addition, determining whether alarm call structure promoted an evolutionary convergence phenomenon still needs further verification.

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