Mobbing behavior: a sexually selected component? — ASN Events

Mobbing behavior: a sexually selected component? (#716)

Filipe Cunha 1 , Julio Fontenelle 2 , Michael Griesser 1
  1. Anthropological Institute & Museum, University of Zürich, Zürich
  2. Instituto Federal de Minas Gerais , Ouro Preto

Mobbing behavior is a risky interaction between prey and predator, in which the main goal of the prey is to avoid predation with a strategy of facing the potential predator. It is known that birds can recognize, at certain degree, their predators, but how can they use this information, besides escaping death? We presented two models of diurnal owls; Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (ornitophagous - dangerous) and Burrowing Owl (non-ornitophagous - non-dangerous), to a bird community in Southeastern Brazil. We recorded the mobbing behavior of males and females of 16 species to the presence of each model. In general, the birds mobbed in bigger groups, but less intensely, with the dangerous predator than the non-dangerous predator. Nevertheless, against the non-dangerous predator, males modified the intensity of their mobbing depending on the number of females in the audience. These results suggest that male birds ‘choose their battles’ depending not only on the ‘enemy’, presence of the females in the audience, suggesting an element of sexual selection to mobbing behavior.