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1 December 2007 ADULT YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS FACE IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AT THE NEST
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Abstract

Vigilance is especially important in colonial socially monogamous birds during the nesting season as nest materials, offspring, and mates are vulnerable to theft, depredation, and extra-pair copulations, respectively. We found that when both members of a mated pair of Yellow-crowned Night-herons (Nyctanassa violacea) were at the nest they faced in opposite directions in 73% of observations, which was significantly more often than would be expected by chance (P < 0.0001, χ21 = 33.3). This behavior may improve vigilance against intruders from all directions. When an extra-pair conspecific was present at the nest of a mated pair, members of the pair were significantly more likely to orient in the same direction towards the conspecific rather than face opposite directions. In 95% of all cases in which an extra-pair conspecific was present, at least one member of the mated pair faced it, indicating that extra-pair conspecifics are perceived as threats by nesting pairs.

Michelle E. Afkhami and Joan E. Strassmann "ADULT YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS FACE IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AT THE NEST," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(4), 747-749, (1 December 2007). https://doi.org/10.1676/06-104.1
Received: 8 August 2006; Accepted: 1 January 2007; Published: 1 December 2007
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