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Reactions of Blue Tits Parus caeruleus to Hawk Models of Different Sizes

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Blue Tits Parus caeruleus vary their predator-avoidance behaviour in relation to the size of hawk models. A life-size model of a Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus passing about 4 m over the Tits inhibits locomotion for up to 3 min, and elicits an alarm call, scolding, that has characteristics which make it audible over a long range. A small model mimicing a Sparrowhawk at a height of 60 m above the Tits inhibits locomotion for a shorter time (less than 1 min). This model elicits a different alarm call, the seeet call. The adaptiveness of these different reactions to the hawk models is discussed in terms of the different threats posed by a flying raptor at varying distances.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1983

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