Availability and use of public information and conspecific density for settlement decisions in the collared flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) Science Article 4


Public information, i.e. local reproductive performance of conspecifics, is expected to be a highly valuable cue for breeding habitat selection. However, the access to this cue may be spatially and temporally constrained. When public information is unavailable, individuals may use other integrative cues, such as the local density of breeders. Departure decisions of collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis) were shown previously to be related to both public information and breeding density, in a long-term correlative study of a fragmented population. Here, we tested whether flycatchers also use public information (number and condition of fledglings produced locally) and breeding density to make individual settlement decisions in the following year. Immigration rates were computed to measure the degree of attractiveness of patches to new breeders. We investigated the relative influence of public information and breeding density on immigration rates of yearlings and older adults separately. The access to public information for settlement decisions may indeed be more limited for yearlings.

Blandine Doligez, Tomas Part, Etienne Danchin, Jean Clobert and Lars Gustafsson, Journal of Animal Ecology (2004) 73, 75-87

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