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Antwren times to approach Dusky-throated Antshrike based on antshrike behavior

Citation

Williams, Sean (2021), Antwren times to approach Dusky-throated Antshrike based on antshrike behavior, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1zcrjdfsd

Abstract

We investigated whether context-specific behavior is responsible for the cohesion of mixed-species flocks of antshrikes and antwrens in Amazonian Peru. Antshrikes perform a behavior given while spatially repositioning, to which antwrens respond by approaching. Cohesion of interspecific associations requires communication, although the mechanisms often are unexplored. In monospecific groups, cohesion among individuals is maintained with actions or vocalizations given in a certain context. Dusky-throated Antshrikes (Thamnomanes ardesiacus) vocalize while in flight and the number of times they vocalize covaries with the flight distance. We refer to this pairing of flight and vocalization as repositioning behavior. Furthermore, antshrikes pair a different call type with perching, which we refer to as perching behavior. We followed Long-winged (Myrmotherula longipennis) and White-flanked Antwrens (Myrmotherula axillaris) and recorded their response following natural vocalizations (no playback used) given by the antshrikes. Long-winged Antwrens, but not White-flanked, flew toward an antshrike significantly sooner and were more likely to approach the antshrikes after the repositioning behavior than after perching behavior. In addition, Long-winged Antwrens, but not White-flanked, flew toward an antshrike sooner after a longer series of repositioning calls than after a shorter series. We did not distinguish between the Long-winged Antwrens’ response as a function movement vs. vocalizations of the antshrikes, although we argue that vocalizations are likely a more important communication component of repositioning behavior than movement. It remains unclear whether the antshrikes are deliberately signaling the Long-winged Antwrens or the antwrens are taking advantage of the repositioning behavior; active signaling is possible since antshrikes benefit from antwrens. White-flanked Antwrens may be less responsive to the antshrikes since they have a lower propensity to occur in a mixed-species flock. The results indicate that the repositioning behavior of Dusky-throated Antshrikes is a key mechanism of interspecific cohesion of Amazonian mixed-species flocks of the understory.