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Data from: Bird mixed-species flock formation is driven by low temperatures between and within seasons in a Subtropical Andean-foothill forest

Citation

Mangini, Giselle G.; Areta, Juan Ignacio (2018), Data from: Bird mixed-species flock formation is driven by low temperatures between and within seasons in a Subtropical Andean-foothill forest, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t5m5662

Abstract

According to both the predation avoidance and foraging efficiency hypotheses, birds within mixed flocks increase their foraging efficiency and/or can spend more time feeding and less time looking out for predators. These hypotheses predict that birds in mixed flocks obtain benefits. Thus, mixed flock formation could serve as a strategy to cope with difficult conditions imposed on birds such as climatic conditions that ultimately result in a change in predation pressure or food resources. We evaluate the hypotheses that forming part of a flock confers benefits to its members and the associated prediction that birds will take advantage of these benefits and flock more often under cold and dry weather conditions between and within seasons to cope with such conditions. We surveyed the presence of mixed flocks, flocking propensity, number of species and individuals in mixed flocks in the subtropical Yungas-foothill of Argentina, to examine seasonality, flocking behavior of birds and their responses to two climatic variables: temperature and humidity. Bird species presented a higher flocking propensity and mixed flocks occurred more frequently during the dry and cold seasons than during the more benign seasons, and lower values of temperature within seasons triggered the flocking behavior. Although effects between seasons were expected, birds also showed a short-term response to small changes in temperature within seasons. These results strengthen the ideas proposed by the foraging hypothesis. Although benefits derived from flocking have yet to be determined, whatever they are should be understood in the context of seasonal variation in life-history traits.

Usage Notes

Location

Austral Yungas
Subtropical andean foothills