Cooperative Inter-specific Behaviour Warning of Danger

Richard ffrench


I was looking out from the Asa Wright verandah at the usual peaceful scene of birds feeding on plants and artificial feeders. Below me a Great Kiskadee was perched prominently on one of the posts provided for birds approaching the feeders, and various other birds including at least one Crested Oropendola were foraging nearby. Suddenly the oropendola uttered a loud, urgent call - kak-kakkak. In a split second the kiskadee dived for cover into the bushes, and all the other, smaller birds disappeared too. Within a few seconds I saw not far above the house an Ornate Hawk-Eagle circling around, and it seems certain that it was the sight of this predator that had prompted the oropendola’s warning. Clearly the other birds got the message.

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