Host provisioning behavior favors mimetic begging calls in a brood-parasitic cowbird

Authors
Ursino, Cynthia Alejandra; Gloag, Ros; Reboreda, Juan Carlos; de Marsico, Maria Cecilia
Publication Year
2017
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
The vocalizations of some young brood-parasitic birds closely resemble those of their host's young. Such similarities might arise because hosts bestow the greatest parental care in response to their own species' call type. We used a playback experiment to assess the effectiveness of the nestling call structures of 2 brood parasites, the specialist screaming cowbird (Molothrus rufoaxillaris) and the generalist shiny cowbird (M. bonariensis), in stimulating parental provisioning in a shared host, the baywing (Agelaioides badius). Screaming cowbird begging calls closely resemble those of baywing young and thus should best exploit any bias for species-specific cues. Shiny cowbird calls, in contrast, are unlike baywings but can instead exploit nonspecific sensory biases for long call duration and syllable repetition. We found that playback of screaming cowbird's mimetic calls elicited increases in feeding rates equivalent to those of playback of the host's own young, whereas shiny cowbird calls failed to increase provisioning rates above those of no-broadcast control sessions. These results indicate that baywings discriminate between nestling call structures in favor of their own species calls when adjusting parental investment and support the view that selection for optimal host provisioning can favor vocal mimicry by parasitic offspring.
Fil: Ursino, Cynthia Alejandra. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Fil: Gloag, Ros. University of Sydney; Australia
Fil: Reboreda, Juan Carlos. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Fil: de Marsico, Maria Cecilia. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires; Argentina
Subject
BEGGING CALL
BROOD PARASITISM
COWBIRD
MIMICRY
MOLOTHRUS
PARENTAL CARE
Otras Ciencias Biológicas
Ciencias Biológicas
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/65211