If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Stimuli Eliciting Distress Calls in Adult Passerines and Response of Predators and Birds to Their Broadcast

Michael R. Conover
Behaviour
Vol. 131, No. 1/2 (Nov., 1994), pp. 19-37
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4535226
Page Count: 19
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Stimuli Eliciting Distress Calls in Adult Passerines and Response of Predators and Birds to Their Broadcast
Preview not available

Abstract

This study examined the response of birds and captive predators to the broadcast of distress calls and the effect of different stimuli on the elicitation of these calls. In doing so, this study tested two hypotheses about why adult passerines should distress call when physically constrained: the calls are designed 1) to attract attention, or 2) to startle the predator into releasing the caller. Birds often responded to both interspecific and intraspecific distress calls by approaching the sound source, but they rarely mobbed or engaged in any behavior that would aid the caller in escaping. The playback of a distress call had little effect on most captive opossums (Didelphis marsupialis) and raccoons (Procyon lotor) which were attacking a caged starling (Sturnus vulgaris). However, distress calls startled one opossum and two raccoons and provoked two other raccoons into a more severe attack. Birds only distress called when physically constrained. All passerine species that were tested, except brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), emitted distress calls, but in no species did every individual call. Distress calls usually were of short duration, interrupted by periods of silence, and paired with struggling behavior. Birds were more likely to distress call when held by the limbs rather than the body or neck, when moved, or when viewing a rapidly approaching object. These results indicate that one function of distress calls for most passerines is to startle the predator, but that other functions also are likely. My results also support the hypothesis that birds approach a distress caller to acquire information about the predator that has captured the caller.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[19]
    [19]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
20
    20
  • Thumbnail: Page 
21
    21
  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26
  • Thumbnail: Page 
27
    27
  • Thumbnail: Page 
28
    28
  • Thumbnail: Page 
29
    29
  • Thumbnail: Page 
30
    30
  • Thumbnail: Page 
31
    31
  • Thumbnail: Page 
32
    32
  • Thumbnail: Page 
33
    33
  • Thumbnail: Page 
34
    34
  • Thumbnail: Page 
35
    35
  • Thumbnail: Page 
36
    36
  • Thumbnail: Page 
37
    37