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Zoologia (Curitiba)

Print version ISSN 1984-4670On-line version ISSN 1984-4689


PIRATELLI, Augusto J.; FAVORETTO, Gabriela R.  and  MAXIMIANO, Marina F. de Almeida. Factors affecting escape distance in birds. Zoologia (Curitiba) [online]. 2015, vol.32, n.6, pp.438-444. ISSN 1984-4670.

The flight initiation distance has been used either to understand the cost-benefit trade-offs related to the risk of predation or as an important tool for wildlife managers. Although this variable is well-discussed for temperate regions, it is still poorly known in the Neotropics. Here we analyze the escape behavior of birds from southeastern Brazil, comparing an urban to a non-urban area. We tested for the influence of sites (urban vs. non-urban area), approaching (by one vs. two people), daytime (morning vs. afternoon), seasons (breeding vs. non-breeding) and body mass on the determination of the initial (FID) and final (FFD) flight distances across different bird species. We predict that FID will be greater in rural areas and under a greater threat (higher number of predators approaching) in the afternoon and in the non-breeding season. We also expect a direct relationship between body mass and FID and between FID and FFD. We sampled 11 species after measuring 331 escape behaviors, and we confirmed our predictions for sites (five species), daytime (one species) and rejected our premise about seasons for one species. Mean FID was strongly affected by body mass, and directly affected FFD. Adjustments in FID are, most likely, an important adaptive trait in urban habitats and may partially explain the predominance of species with higher ecological plasticity in cities.

Keywords : Behavior; energetic; Neotropical; predation; urban.

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