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1 June 2011 Behavior of Warbling Vireos Ejecting Real and Artificial Cowbird Eggs
Todd J. Underwood, Spencer G. Sealy
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Abstract

We videotaped nine ejections of real (n  =  5) and artificial (n  =  4) Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) eggs by Warbling Vireos (Vireo gilvus). All eggs were ejected within 6 min. There were no significant differences in time used for any ejection behavior by egg type, although artificial eggs were probed longer before ejection. Eight vireos ejected the cowbird egg using visual cues only because none sat on its nest before ejection. One male ejected the cowbird egg after sitting on the nest for a few minutes; consequently, both visual and tactile cues were available for its decision to eject the cowbird egg. Most vireos identified the cowbird egg by sight and, in most cases, rapid ejection of the cowbird egg precluded the possibility of using tactile cues. Grasp-ejection was the only ejection method confirmed for real and artificial eggs. Two male vireos ejected cowbird eggs at two nests, which is the first documentation of successful ejection by male Warbling Vireos, and the third cowbird host for which males are known to eject cowbird eggs. The ability of males to eject cowbird eggs has important implications for the evolution of ejection behavior.

Todd J. Underwood and Spencer G. Sealy "Behavior of Warbling Vireos Ejecting Real and Artificial Cowbird Eggs," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(2), 395-400, (1 June 2011). https://doi.org/10.1676/10-123.1
Received: 10 August 2010; Accepted: 1 January 2011; Published: 1 June 2011
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