Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Interspecific Nest Defence in European Sparrows: Different Strategies to Deal with a Different Species of Opponent?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1990
Authors:Cordero, PJ, Senar, JC
Journal:Ornis Scandinavica
Date Published:1990
ISBN Number:00305693
Keywords:Carduelis, Carduelis Spinus, Fringillidae, Passer, Passer domesticus, Passer montanus, Passeridae, Spinus, Spinus spinus
Abstract:Since House Sparrows Passer domesticus and Tree Sparrows P. montanus compete for nesting holes, nest defence could potentially be of great importance. Experiments with stuffed dummies of male House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows and Siskins Carduelis spinus showed that nest defence responses by sparrow owners were directed towards other sparrows, but not to Siskins. The relative use of two defensive strategies (physical attack or blocking of the nest entrance with the body) was also examined in relation to the species of the owner and that of the stuffed dummy (i.e. the intruder). House Sparrows attacked either sparrow species more often than did Tree Sparrows. However, Tree Sparrows did more nest-blocking than House Sparrows. Both species were more likely to direct nest-blocking towards House Sparrow than Tree Sparrow intruders, which suggest interspecific recognition. The results are interpreted in relation to the more aggressive behaviour and dominance of House Sparrows and the fact that nest-blocking is a safer defence strategy for the owner than physical attack.
Short Title:Ornis Scandinavica
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