How adaptive is the defense strategies of the Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus Pallas, 1776) against nest predation in the Northern Mongolian population? (#837)
As complex behaviors can be vary adaptive among environments, it may not always be applicable for the species level. Due to different environmental conditions, populations within the same species have often developed specific strategy against predators. Nest predators of the Azure-winged magpie are varied in populations which are far from each other. As the Azure-winged magpie is one of the highly social and intelligent bird species like many other Corvid species, they may have developed adaptive and more flexible strategies against predators. We studied the relationship between predator and breeding colony of the Azure-winged Magpie and its cooperative breeding system in Khonin Nuga field station in Northern Mongolia for eight years. Few studies have been conducted to reveal relation between predation rate and distance between nests of predator to breeding site of prey species and the distance within colony nests. From our study, we discovered several strategies against nest predation by Azure-winged Magpies. A pair of Carrion Crow breed near the Azure-winged Magpies' breeding colony every year. Based on evidence, the pair of Carrion Crow is proved as a main predator of the Khonin Nuga breeding colony. The breeding success of the Azure-winged Magpie depends strongly on the distance between their nests and the nest of Carrion Crow. Azure-winged Magpies nest close to each other after the intense nest predation within breeding season and their distance between nests became more and more closer throughout the years. We also found that Azure-winged Magpies' adjust their response against Carrion Crows depending on their breeding colony size. They also have developed several other strategies against nest predation, such as nest concealment, nesting synchronous, nesting in sub-groups that provided much faster and effective response against predators and also contribution from helpers that reduced nest predation.