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Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(2), 238-241 SHORTCOMMUNICATION June 2014 Natural history notes and breeding of the Pale Baywing (Agelaioides fringillarius) in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. 1,3 2 Rosendo M. Fraga and Santos D´Angelo Neto Cicyttp-CONICET, España y Matteri, (3105) Diamante, ER, Argentina. E-mail: email@example.com Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, Av. Rui Braga s/no., CEP 39401-089, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Corresponding author: email@example.com Received on 04 July 2013. Accepted on 01 October 2013. ABSTRACT: In Brazil the Pale Baywing is regarded as an endemic species of the Caatinga biome (Pacheco 2000). We present data on habitat, foraging and breeding of the Pale Baywing (Agelaioides fringillarius) obtained between 2001 and 2005 at Francisco Sá, Minas Gerais. We document the occurrence of cooperative breeding, and its host-parasite interactions with Shiny (M. bonariensis) and Screaming Cowbirds (Molothrus rufoaxillaris), the last a recent invader in this area. Nests (N = 18) were detected from December to February, during the rainy season. Most nests (N =12) were placed within domed twig nests built by three furnariid species, and 5 nests were built within the crowns of palm trees. Six nests containing nestlings had from 4 to 6 attending Pale Baywings that brought food and mobbed or attacked avian predators or nest pirates. Two nests contained feathered Shiny Cowbird (M. bonariensis) chicks. Screaming Cowbirds were ﬁrst seen in Francisco Sá in 1993, but up to 2005 all Screaming Cowbirds chicks were observed in nests of Chopi Blackbirds (Gnorimopsar chopi), or were ﬂocking and roosting with this host. KEY WORDS: Pale Baywing, Agelaiodes fringillarius, natural history, nesting, cooperative breeding, brood parasitism, Molothrus rufoaxillaris, M. bonariensis. INTRODUCTION nests of furnariids, absence of cooperative breeding, and rare parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis). The Pale Baywing was described as Icterus fringillarius by We present here new information on the natural Spix in 1824 from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Up to Friedmann´s history and breeding behavior of the Pale Baywing obtained in Minas Gerais, northeastern Brazil. We include data on classical monograph (1929) it was treated as a full species (Agelaioides fringillarius). Jaramillo and Burke (1999) habitat use, foraging, nesting sites, cooperative breeding suggested that Pale Baywings could deserve speciﬁc status. and interactions with brood parasites and nest predators. The oﬃcial Brazilian checklist (CBRO 2011) recognizes We paid special attention to interactions with Screaming this form as a species, which is regarded as an endemic Cowbird (Molothrus rufoaxillaris) a parasitic species that invaded this area in 1993 (D’Angelo Neto 2000) and is species of the Caatinga biome (Pacheco 2000). Abundant information on the natural history and spreading further north in northeastern Brazil (Fraga nesting behavior is available for the Grayish Baywing 2011). As Grayish Baywings are the main Screaming (Agelaioides badius), an icterid with cooperative breeding Cowbird host in Argentina (Friedmann 1929, De Marsico and subject to brood parasitism by two parasitic cowbirds et al. 2012, Fraga 1986, 1998, 2011, Lowther 2013, Mason 1980) it was suspected that Pale Baywings could (e.g. Friedmann 1929, De Marsico et al. 2012, Fraga 1986, 1998, 2011, Lowther 2013, Mason 1980). By contrast, also become hosts of this cowbird (Kirwan et al. 2001). only a minimum of natural history data and nesting information is available for the Pale Baywing. Ihering (1914) provided information on a single Pale Baywing METHODS nest, found in Barra, state of Bahia. A summary of the scant The study area was centered in the rural town of Francisco nesting information for Pale Baywings (Friedmann 1929, Jaramillo and Burke 1999) indicate the use of abandoned Sá, Minas Gerais state, Brazil (16º29'S, 43º30'W; altitude Natural history notes and breeding of the Pale Baywing (Agelaioides fringillarius) in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rosendo M. Fraga and Santos D´Angelo Neto 630 m). R. Fraga studied the Pale Baywings during two a maximum of 2-3 individuals producing brief songs. ﬁeld trips (9 to 19 July 2001, and 28 December 2001 to Around dawn, groups of Pale Baywings commuted to 6 January 2002). S. D’Angelo Neto studied the species open ﬁelds elsewhere. between January 2001 and March 2005. The largest group size of foraging Pale Baywings Pale Baywings were found in an area of 120 km consisted of about 70 individuals, feeding in an empty around Francisco Sá at several fazendas (rural properties) corral. Elsewhere foraging groups ranged from two to 43 with altitudes of 600 to 690 m; important information individuals. Most foraging was done on the ground, in was obtained at Fazenda Baixo da Lasca (16º22'S, weedy ﬁelds, pastures or stubble. In the non-breeding 43º33'W). The local climate was classiﬁed as “semiarid season Pale Baywings were largelly comensal with rural tropical” (Nimer 1989) with a mean annual temperature people, feeding on spilled seeds and domestic refuse of 23º C. Annual rainfall averages 976 mm, with a severe around houses, barns, poultry yards and corrals. We dry season that lasts six months (April to September). saw Pale Baywings feeding on cultivated seeds (maize, The landscape around Francisco Sá was hilly, and the sorghum) or chicken food, rarely picking arthropods. A original vegetation in the more humid lower bottoms was small group fed on exudates of Homoptera, and other usually replaced with cattle pastures and some irrigated tried to capture a small Tropidurus lizard. Pale Baywings ﬁelds, divided by hedges of low native trees and shrubs did not follow grazing livestock. In the dry season the (e.g. joazeiro Zyziphus joazeiro, Celtis sp.). Streams and more abundant Chestnut-capped Blackbird (Chrysomus marshes were mostly seasonal. A few remaining forest ruﬁcapillus) frequently associated with foraging Pale patches in the fazendas included tree species like Astronium Baywings in the fazendas. Shiny Cowbirds were less fraxinifolium, Myracrodruon urundeuva, Anadenanthera common associates. In fewer cases we saw the ground colubrina, Acacia polyphylla, Amburana cearensis and doves, Saﬀron Finches (Sicalis ﬂaveola), Red-cowled Schinopsis brasiliensis. More xeric deciduous woodland Cardinals (Paroaria dominicana), Screaming Cowbirds and scrub occurred in rocky hilltops. The town and the and Chopi Blackbirds (Gnorimopsar chopi) near Pale larger fazendas had introduced trees and orchards of fruit Baywing groups. trees like papaya, citrics, goiaba and mango. Study areas for Grayish Baywings in Argentina Breeding (1977-1979) are described in Fraga (1986, 1998). Field observations were carried with 8 x 10 binoculars. We detected nests (N = 18) from December to February, Bird behavior and vocalizations were monitored with during the rainy season. J. Minns (pers. comm.) a Sony Walkman Professional cassette recorder with an observed a case of nest building during the early rainy AKG C568 shotgun microphone. Nests in the “nestling season (2 October 2002) at Januaria, Minas Gerais. stage” are those that contained nestlings (seen or heard) Most nests (N =12) were placed within domed nests or those where we saw adult Pale Baywings carrying food. of twigs built by three species of furnariids: Rufous- Observation times for nests ranged from 1 to 6 h, in fronted Thornbird (Phacellodomus ruﬁfrons), Caatinga most successful nests observation times were spread along Cacholote (Pseudoseisura cristata) and Chotoy Spinetail three days. (Schoeniophylax phryganophila). One nest was found within a nest of Great Kiskadees (Pitangus sulphuratus) in the main praça of Francisco Sá. Five nests were built RESULTS within the crowns of the palm trees Cocos nucifera (N =4) and Roystonea regia, this last one in the town of Francisco Habitat use, roosting, foraging, and group sizes Sá. We did not observe Pale Baywings using the mud nests of Rufous Horneros (Furnarius rufus), although Pale Baywings were mostly found in human-modiﬁed some were available. environments. They were abundant and even nested Domed twig nests of furnariids were abundant in in Francisco Sá, using praças, street trees, orchards and the study area, in the case of the thornbird up to ﬁve gardens. In the fazendas they were one of the most nests could be ﬁnd in a single tree. All Pale Baywing nests common passerines. were solitary, more than 200 m from each other. Nest Pale Baywings roosted only in trees. During the heights ranged from 3.5 to 11 m, and only two could be study we counted from 14 to 64 individuals roosting in inspected. Pale Baywing nests in palms were built at the street trees at Francisco Sá, often in company of House base of fronds, the one in Roystonea partially hidden by a Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and less frequently Shiny ﬂowering spathe. Cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis), Screaming Cowbirds, We have data on numbers of visiting Pale Baywing and Picui (Columbina picui) and Ruddy Ground adults only for nine nests, including six that reached the Doves (C. talpacoti). Contrasting with roosting Grayish nestling stage. One baywing nest in a low thornbird nest Baywings, group singing was rare in Pale Baywings, with was found before egg-laying and contained an empty, Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(2), 2014 Natural history notes and breeding of the Pale Baywing (Agelaioides fringillarius) in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rosendo M. Fraga and Santos D´Angelo Neto loose cup of grasses. Only two adults visited this site and brought food to the host chicks during 3 h of observation, scolded during our inspections. On a next visit this nest but the parasite chick was ignored. The fate of the Shiny had no eggs and appeared abandoned. Three adults visited Cowbird chick in the Rostoynea nest remains unknown, as an inaccessible cacholote nest. Incubation had started in the nest was deserted in our next visit. a second inaccessible cacholote nest, with one individual No visits of Screaming Cowbirds to Pale Baywing remaining inside for up to 45 min. It was visited by up nests were observed during the 2001-2004 breeding to four individuals. All nests that reached the nestling seasons. Only once we saw an interaction between stage were visited by 4 to 6 adults that brought food, breeding Pale Baywings and Screaming Cowbirds. On 29 carried fecal sacs and defended the nests. Six individuals December 2005, two Pale Baywings chased a Screaming provisioned 15 food items to a 9 m high thornbird nest Cowbird pair near a thornbird nest, while two more in Schinopsis observed during 4 h on 28 December 2001. baywings perched at the nest entrance. We did not Identiﬁable items brought to nestlings were mostly observe in our post-breeding Pale Baywing groups the insects and spiders, and rarely pieces of small lizards or diagnostic black-blotched plumage of molting Screaming amphibians. On 4 January 2002, three nestlings were Cowbird ﬂedglings. leaving this nest and 8 Pale Baywing adults were noisily Breeding Chopi Blackbirds around Francisco Sá used vocalizing within 5 m of it. palm crowns and nests of thornbirds and horneros, thus Pale Baywing nesting groups were seen noisily partially overlapping in site use with Pale Baywings. The attacking and mobbing ﬁve bird species. Once a ﬁrst case of Screaming Cowbird parasitism at Francisco Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) successfully carried Sá was observed on 23 December 1993 when a Chopi feathered nestlings although it was attacked and pursued Blackbird nest in a tree hole 4 m high contained two by ﬁve Pale Batwings. Guira Cuckoos (Guira guira) were parasite chicks plus one host nestling. In 2001-2005 we successfully evicted around nests four times, and Cattle observed adults, juveniles and ﬂedglings of Screaming Tyrants (Machetornis rixosus) twice. The most striking and Cowbirds mostly at Fazenda Baixo de Lasca. Adults successful case of nest defense occurred on 28 December occurred in groups of one to four pairs or (once) a single 2012 in a thornbird nest at Baixo da Lasca twice attacked displaying and singing male. Screaming Cowbirds ﬂocked in 4 h by a pair of Campo Troupials (Icterus jamacaii). with Chopi Blackbirds at this fazenda and shared roost Four of the six Pale Baywings chased and mobbed the sites with them. Around those roosts we saw ﬁve Screaming troupials while two perched blocking the nest entrance. Cowbird ﬂedglings (some molting into black plumage) In a similar case two Catinga Cacholotes that perched being fed and guarded by adult Chopi Blackbirds. within 10 m of one Pale Baywing nest were mobbed and chased while other individuals remained as sentinels near the nest. All the attacked species were nest predators, nest DISCUSSION pirates or nest competitors (Pinto 1967, Remsen 2003). In December-February we saw Pale Baywing Pale Baywings resembled Grayish Baywings in using groups of 2-8 adults plus food-dependent ﬂedglings. mostly human-modiﬁed habitats and in consuming an Some of those post-nesting groups foraged in the thorny opportunistic mixture of seeds and animal food. Rarer woodlands on the rocky hilltops, which were seldom plant foods in the diet of Grayish Baywings (fruits and nectar, Fraga 2011) could be used by Pale Baywings as visited during the dry season. In two fazendas juveniles with pinkish mouths were following adults as late as well. Gregarious roosting, foraging behavior and group 10-12 July, but their gaping behavior and begging calls sizes are comparable in both forms. The breeding season did not elicit feeding. However, Roadside Hawks (Buteo of Pale Baywings at Francisco Sá presumably extends to magnirostris) that perched within 20 m from two juveniles the end of the rainy season in March. Furnariids provided most nest sites for Pale were mobbed and chased by 3-4 adults. Baywings, as with most reports for Grayish Baywings from Brood parasitism by cowbirds Argentina (e.g. Hoy and Ottow 1968, Di Giacomo 2005). In another study from Argentina (Fraga 1988) Grayish The two nests within the town of Francisco Sá contained Baywing nest sites were more diversiﬁed, including holes in trees and clumps of epiphytic bromeliads, not observed single feathered Shiny Cowbird chicks, both with dusky black plumage, plus host chicks. Female and juvenile in our small Pale Baywing sample. Most studies of plumages are similar in Shiny Cowbird populations (Fraga Grayish Baywings from Argentina do not mention nests 2011) and most Shiny Cowbird females seen in the study in palm trees (e. g. Hoy and Ottow 1968, Di Giacomo area belonged to this dusky black melanogyna morph. 2005) and only 4 of 161 nests in Fraga (1988) were built in the base of palm fronds. Pale Baywings seem to nest One Shiny Cowbird chick ﬂedged from the Pitangus nest on 5 January 2002. The next day we also observed two in palm trees more frequently than Grayish Baywings in recently ﬂedged host chicks at the same site. Many adults Argentina. Nests built within the crowns of palm trees Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(2), 2014 Natural history notes and breeding of the Pale Baywing (Agelaioides fringillarius) in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rosendo M. Fraga and Santos D´Angelo Neto Cowbirds (Molothrus badius). Journal fur Ornithologie are reported for a small number of Neotropical icterids, 129:175-183. particularly Chopi Blackbirds, Cuban Blackbirds (Dives Fraga, R. M. 1991. The social system of a communal breeder, the bay- atroviolacea) and the Puerto Rican Yellow-shouldered winged cowbird Molothrus badius. Ethology 89:195-210. Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus) (Fraga 2011). Fraga, R. M. 1998. The interactions of the parasitic shiny and Our data shows that Pale Baywings are cooperative screaming cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis and M. rufoaxillaris) with a shared host, the bay-winged cowbird (M. badius), p. 173- breeders, with more than two individuals sharing 193. In: Rothstein S. I. & Robinson S. K. (eds.) Parasitic birds parental duties at every nest that reached the nestling and their hosts. Oxford University Press. stage, sometimes even before. We saw higher numbers of Fraga, R. M. 2011. Family Icteridae, New World Blackbirds, p 684- helpers per nest than in Argentinian Grayish Baywings 801. In: del Hoyo J., Elliot A. & Christie D. (eds.) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain. (Fraga 1991). More information is needed on the age, sex Friedmann, H. 1929. The cowbirds. C. C. Thomas, Springﬁeld, and degree of kinship of the helpers. Illinois, USA. We conﬁrmed parasitism of Pale Baywings by Shiny Hoy, G. & Ottow H. 1964. Biological studies on the molothrini Cowbirds. On the other hand, twelve years after the arrival cowbirds (Icteridae) of Argentina. Auk 81:186-203. of Screaming Cowbirds in Francisco Sá we could not ﬁnd Ihering, H. von. 1914. Biologia e classiﬁcaçao das cuculidas brazileiras. Revista Museu Paulista 9: 371-410. solid evidence that they were eﬀectively parasitizing Pale Jaramillo, A. & Burke P. 1999. New World blackbirds. The Icterids. Baywings. We cannot predict if a host-parasite interaction A. & C. Black Publishers, London. will evolve in the future. Although Screaming Cowbird Kirwan, G. M.; Mazar Barnett J. & Minns J. 2001. Signiﬁcant nestlings resemble those of Pale Baywings in plumage and ornithological observations from the Rio Sao Francisco valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil, with notes on conservation and calls, aggressive and coordinated nest guarding by Pale biogeography. Ararajuba 9:145-161. Baywing groups may be a deterrent to this newly arrived Lowther, P . 2013. Bay-winged Cowbird (Agelaioides badius), Neotropical brood parasite. Our data shows that Chopi Blackbirds Birds Online ( Schulenberg T. S., Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of played a main role during the remarkable range expansion Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: http:// neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview of Screaming Cowbirds in northeastern Brazil. Mason, P. 1980. Ecological and evolutionary aspects of host selection in cowbirds. Ph. D. dissertation. Austin TX: University of Texas. Nimer, E. 1989. Climatologia do Brasil. Instituto Brasileiro de ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Geografía e Estatística, Río de Janeiro. Pacheco, J. F. 2000. A ornitologia descobre o sertão: um balanço do conhecimento da avifauna da caatinga dos primordios aos annos We are grateful to the several rural landowners or residents 1950, p. 11-70. In: Straube F. C., Argel-de-Oliveira M. M. & that allowed us to study birds in their fazendas. R. M. Candido-Jr. J. F. (eds.) Ornitologia Brasileira no século XX. Fraga dedicates this paper to the memory of Juan Mazar Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina and Sociedade Brasileira de Ornitologia, Curitiba, Brazil. and acknowledges the ﬁnancial support of Fundación Pinto, O. M. O. 1967. Do parasitismo provável de Icterus jamacaii Antorchas. Comments by the editor and reviewers (Gmelin) em Pseudoseisura cristata (Gmelin). Hornero 10: 337-449. improved this manuscript. Remsen J. V. 2003. Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds), p. 162-357. 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Temas de Naturaleza y Conservación 4: 203- 465. Aves Argentinas/AOP. Buenos Aires. Fraga, R. M. 1986. The Baywinged Cowbird (Molothrus badius) and its brood parasites, interactions, coevolution and comparative eﬃciency. Ph. D. dissertation. Santa Barbara CA: University of California. Fraga, R. M. 1988. Nest sites and breeding success of Baywinged Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(2), 2014
Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2014
Keywords: Pale Baywing; Agelaiodes fringillarius; natural history; nesting; cooperative breeding; brood parasitism; Molothrus rufoaxillaris; M. bonariensis
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