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1 September 2017 The Response of Water Rails (Rallus aquaticus) To the Playback of Conspecific and Heterospecific Calls
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Abstract

We studied the response of Water Rails (Rallus aquaticus) to conspecific and heterospecific playback to reveal any variation in reaction to playbacks of rail and crake and if and how these reactions change in intensity. Ten observation points, 100 m from each other within a reedbed, were selected. We made our observations three times a day over three days in three sessions (Apr, Jun, and Sept). We quantified the response of Water Rails to the playback of conspecifics and the heterospecifics: Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Corn Crake (Crex crex), Little Crake (Porzana parva), Spotted Crake (P. porzana), and Baillon's Crake (P. pusilla), in terms of phenological periods. We found that there is a difference in aggressive reaction between conspecific and heterospecific playbacks across all sessions and also within each session. The aggressive reaction decreases significantly in the direction (Water Rail = Common Moorhen) > (Corn Crake = Little Crake = Spotted Crake) > (Baillon's Crake), during the first session and (Common Moorhen) > (Water Rail) > (Corn Crake = Little Crake = Spotted Crake = Baillon's Crake) during the second session. We found that Water Rails react differently to conspecific and heterospecific calls. The reaction intensity changes from one session to another, and the level of reaction to different species also changes. Most of the aggressive reaction levels can be explained by nesting place and food competition but also nest parasitism behavior and body mass differences.

Alexandru Nicolae Stermin, Alin David, and Eliana Sevianu "The Response of Water Rails (Rallus aquaticus) To the Playback of Conspecific and Heterospecific Calls," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(3), 481-491, (1 September 2017). https://doi.org/10.1676/16-078.1
Received: 25 May 2016; Accepted: 1 October 2016; Published: 1 September 2017
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