Allometry of alarm calls: Black-capped chickadees encode information about predator size

C N Templeton, E Greene, K Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

410 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many animals produce alarm signals when they detect a potential predator, but we still know little about the information contained in these signals. Using presentations of 15 species of live predators, we show that acoustic features of the mobbing calls of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) vary with the size of the predator. Companion playback experiments revealed that chickadees detect this information and that the intensity of mobbing behavior is related to the size and threat of the potential predator. This study demonstrates ani unsuspected level of complexity and sophistication in avian alarm calls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1934-1937
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume308
Issue number5730
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2005

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