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Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(4): 227–230. ARTICLE December 2018 Kleptoparasitism and territoriality in the Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae) in the Complejo Güija, El Salvador 1,2 1 Abizai Clemente Chinchilla-Rodríguez & Iliana Guadalupe Barias-Álvarez Escuela de Biología, Universidad de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador. Corresponding author: email@example.com Received on 24 July 2018. Accepted on 04 December 2018. ABSTRACT: We present the observations of some kleptoparasitic and territorial interactions in the Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), following focal individuals from January to May 2017 in two wetlands of El Salvador. Th ose interactions were performed during their food searching and managing of prey on perch. We observed two attempts of kleptoparasitism from Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) to R. sociabilis. On the fi rst case, a fl ock of Q. mexicanus chased an adult Snail Kite, which had captured a snail; on the second case, a male of Q. mexicanus tried to steal a young Snail Kite's prey, which was managing its prey on perch. On both cases in response to the attack, two individuals chose to change perch to complete the consumption of its prey. We also observed an intent of kleptoparasitism between two male Snail Kites, after the attack, on perch the chased bird released the snail and moved to another site, meanwhile, the attacker ended up eating the snail. We attribute this observation to a kleptoparasitic behavior, related to water stress and variations in prey availability. We recorded Snail Kite's territorial behavior between the species and against other raptors, as a way to protect their feeding territories. With these observations, we provide some information about the ecological behavior of the species in El Salvador. We stress the need to carry out research related to the interaction between R. sociabilis and Q. mexicanus on its feeding sites, focusing in the eff ect of water scarcity and snail availability on the behavior of the Snail Kite. KEY-WORDS: ethology, Great-tailed Grakle, raptors, specialist, wetlands. INTRODUCTION kleptoparasitic attacks (Gaglio et al. 2018). Th e Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) has a wide In a community structure, the interaction of species can be geographical distribution from Florida (USA) to Uruguay either positive or negative (Jaksic & Marone 2001). Th e and Argentina (Sick 1997), it is probably one of the result of the interactions generates a dynamic equilibrium most morphologically specialized species among raptors, that determines the structure of the community and the since its hook-shaped, thin and curved beak allows it to richness. Among interactions that contribute to this easily cut the connecting muscle and to extract the meat dynamic fl ow are: competition, predation (including completely from the shell, which is the main prey that parasitism) and mutualism (Dhondt 2012). Competition makes up its diet (Méndez et al. 2006, Rueda & Wiebe is an interaction between individuals of the same 2014, Chapman & Bolen 2015). In this study we present (intraspecifi c) or distinct (interspecifi c) species, it is observations of kleptoparasitism and territoriality in R. caused by the common need of a limited resource in the sociabilis populations in two wetlands of the Complejo habitat that species share, which leads to the reduction of Güija, with the aim of describing those behaviors and survival, growth and/or reproduction of the competing contributing to the knowledge of the ethology of this individuals (Begon et al. 1995). species in the country. Food theft or kleptoparasitism, can occur in many groups of animals, however, is more common among birds, where parents which provide food to their off spring METHODS may be more vulnerable to be attacked by organism of the same species (intraspecifi c attacks) or other species Complejo Güija is located in western El Salvador, in (interspecifi c attacks) (Brockmann & Barnard 1979, the Santa Ana department, municipality of Metapán o o Gaglio et al. 2018). Th is could lead to a decrease in (14 17'N; 89 29'W). It is a RAMSAR site (MARN the feeding rates, due to the time spent in avoiding 2016) and its extension includes 47.200 ha. Th e main Kleptoparasitism and territoriality in the Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Chinchilla-Rodríguez & Barias-Álvarez lake has an area of 42 km of which 76.7% corresponds RESULTS & DISCUSSION to El Salvador and the rest to Guatemala. Th is complex includes the Metapán Lagoon, the Güija Lake and Great-tailed Grakle vs. Snail Kite portions of the Natural Protected Area San Diego y La Barra (Herrera & Rivera 2001, Herrera 2005). We made We observed agonistic interactions from Quiscalus the observations in the northern sector of the Güija Lake mexicanus, which in Site 1 performed fl ock chases on o o (14 17.584'N; 89 31.983'W) (Site 1), and in the sector of an adult R. sociabilis which had captured a snail. Th ese Rincón del Cuje, in the Metapán Lagoon (14 18.548'N; persecutions were carried out as an attempt to steal the 89 29.288'W) (Site 2). snail captured by the species. Due to these persecutions the We performed 11 visits to each site in the period Snail Kite moved to another place with its prey, without of January to May 2017, from 7:00 h to 12:30 h. Th e presenting aggressive behavior against its persecutors. information of the bird's behavior was obtained using the Similar behavior of kleptoparasitism was observed on a focal individual method (Lehner 1998), which is, briefl y, juvenile, which was managing its prey on the perch and a selection of an individual that started to forage being was frequently interrupted by a male Q. mexicanus (Fig. the focus of the observation for 10 min, at a distance no 1A), which made attempts to steal the snail and made less than 15 m, to prevent the species from modifying a constant vocalization. In response to the attack, the its behavior due to disturbance. In each observation, juvenile chose to change the perch to end the consumption we recorded intra and interspecifi c interactions, with of its prey. On Site 2 we observed the displacement by an emphasis on territoriality. At the end of the observation individual of Q. mexicanus against a female R. sociabilis of one focal individual, we waited for 10 min to select a (Fig. 1B). Th is behavior of kleptoparasitism against R. new one, making sure that the specimen was not the same sociabilis has been observed by Sykes-Jr. (1987) in Q. that we were observing previously. major, a species that made constant attacks against Snail Figure 1. Attacks and intent of kleptoparasitism of a male Quiscalus mexicanus towards a juvenile Rosthramus sociabilis (A). Displacement of a female R. sociabilis by a male Q. mexicanus (B). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(4): 2018 Kleptoparasitism and territoriality in the Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Chinchilla-Rodríguez & Barias-Álvarez Kites, while it was on a perch or in fl ight. With our interaction, because snail hunted per h was low: 0.52 observations we documented for the fi rst time in the zone snails/h. Th is kleptoparasitic behavior may be more this behavior between R. sociabilis and Q. mexicanus. We frequent according to wetland conditions, such as low even observed an individual of Q. mexicanus carrying a water levels and low prey availability. For this reason, it snail in its beak. Th erefore, we suggest that future studies is important to evaluate the behavior of the Snail Kite focused on the feeding interaction of these species. during these periods of stress. Snail Kite vs. Snail Kite Territoriality In Site 1 we observed an intraspecifi c attack of R. On Site 1, we recorded interactions of R. sociabilis with sociabilis against another individual of the same species, other raptors: on one occasion, two juvenile Geranoaetus which had a prey on a feeding perch. Due to the attack, albicaudatus were displaced by persecution and vocalization the Snail Kite released the snail and moved to another by a male R. sociabilis who was hunting. Similar observations site. Th e Snail Kite which fi nished the attack ended were made by Haverschmidt (1970) in Suriname, who up eating the snail. We attribute this observation to documented the persecution of R. sociabilis against Buteogallus a kleptoparasitic behavior. Miller & Tilson (1985) meridionalis, which had captured a small mammal. In our observed kleptoparasitism between R. sociabilis against observations, the attack was probably carried out because R. Limpkin Aramus guarauna, when the availability of snails sociabilis was in foraging activities and both individuals of G. was low, due to the decrease in water level or the increase albicaudatus slightly interrupted their activity, since the diet in vegetation height. We observed similar conditions (in of this species is composed mainly by rodents, amphibians, relation to the availability of snails) to those observed by reptiles, carrion and even small birds (Dunne et al. 2012), Miller & Tilson (1985) on the day of the kleptoparasitic making improbable territorial behavior. Figure 2. Territorial behavior for the food resource among Rosthramus sociabilis in both studied sites (A = site 1; B = site 2). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(4): 2018 Kleptoparasitism and territoriality in the Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Chinchilla-Rodríguez & Barias-Álvarez On Site 2, we observed a territorial fi ght between original manuscript and to David Rodríguez for kindly a female R. sociabilis and Caracara cheriway: the female checking the English grammar. vocalized while in fl ight to get C. cheriway away from the sector, in the same way it made attacks with its claws REFERENCES without making contact. We also recorded interactions against Buteogallus anthracinus; in this case, it was this Begon M., Harper J.L. & Townsend C.R. 1995. Ecología: individuos, species which removed R. sociabilis from the site with poblaciones y comunidades. Barcelona: Ediciones Omega. vocalizations and without presenting aggressiveness with Bourne G.R. 1985. Field test of micropatch and prey-size selection by its claws. Th is area has been described as a feeding and Snail Kites Rostrhamus sociabilis. Ibis 127: 141‒147. hunting site for B. antrhacinus (Molina 2013). In the Brockmann H.J. & Barnard C.J. 1979. Kleptoparasitism in birds. Animal Behavior 27: 487‒514. same way we observed an active nest to the east of the Chapman B.R. & Bolen E.G. 2015. Ecology of North America. Oxford: foraging site of R. sociabilis, so the attacks could be related John Wiley & Sons Ltd. to territoriality. Dhondt A.A. 2012. Interspecifi c competition in bird. 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Condor 72: 492‒493. Sykes-Jr. P.W. 1987. Th e feeding habits of the Snail Kite in Florida, To Idalma Aldana and the rangers of the sites for USA. Colonial Waterbirds 10: 84‒92. supporting the development of this investigation. We are in debt to José Pablo for the English translation of the Associate Editor: Cristiano S. Azevedo. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(4): 2018
Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2018
Keywords: ethology; Great-tailed Grakle; raptors; specialist; wetlands
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