Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Nest Defense as Parental Care in the Northern Hobby (Falco subbuteo)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:Sergio, F, Bogliani, G
Journal:The Auk
Date Published:2001
ISBN Number:00048038
Keywords:Falco, Falco subbuteo, Falconidae
Abstract:Intensity of nest defence against a human intruder was recorded for 42 male and 43 female Northern Hobbies (Falco subbuteo) from 1992 to 1994. Defense did not vary between repeatedly and rarely visited nests. Except during incubation, intensity of nest defense by females was higher than that by males. For both sexes, defense intensity increased from incubation to fledging, within the nestling stage, and from fledging to the first 10 days of the postfledging period. Intensity of nest defense was positively correlated with brood size in females, but not in males. Experiments with dummy nests showed that defense was effective in deterring nest predation, and that its effect was positively related to its intensity. Hobby nest defense was an individually varying "plastic" trait, probably tuned to the reproductive value of the offspring. Parents apparently trade off the costs and risks of the behavior against the increasing likelihood of offspring survival.
Short Title:The Auk
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