Birds emit alarm calls, considered as honest signals, because they communicate the presence of a predator or potential threat. We evaluated behavioural events of birds responding to vocal and visual stimuli of a nocturnal predator (black-and-white owl Ciccaba nigrolineata) and a diurnal predator (collared forest falcon Micrastur semitorquatus). We analysed variations in behavioural events seasonally (reproductive and nonbreeding) and by bird size, as well as their relationship with the vegetation structure and landscape. The study was performed during the breeding (March-May) and non-breeding seasons (February, June and July) of 2016 in Chiapas, Mexico. We used four transects with different vegetation types and land uses. The most frequent behavioural response by birds to the vocal stimuli of the black-and-white owl and the collared forest-falcons was vocal, during the breeding season, and small species responded the most to the stimuli (p = 0.008) and (p < 0.015), respectively. We identified two vegetation and two landscape variables associated in 36% of probability for the prey to respond to black-and-white owl vocal stimuli, three variables of vegetation and one of the landscape in 37% for the collared forest-falcon stimuli. Potential prey animals modify the behaviour, which allows them to detect, evade or confront a predator.
Part of the book: Owls