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SAGARIO, M. Cecilia  and  CUETO, Víctor R. Evaluación del comportamiento territorial de cuatro especies de aves granívoras en el Monte central. Hornero [online]. 2014, vol.29, n.2, pp.81-92. ISSN 0073-3407.

Evaluation of the territorial behaviour of four species of sparrows in the central Monte desert.- Territorial behaviour in birds is common, but very few studies have attempted to understand what are birds defending in their territories. We evaluated intra and interspecific territorial behaviour among four species of sparrows in the central Monte desert during two consecutive years, in order to assess possible interactions and plasticity in their behaviour. We performed playback experiments on the Cinnamon Warbling-Finch (Poospiza ornata), the Ringed Warbling-Finch (Poospiza torquata), the Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), and the Many-coloured Chaco-Finch (Saltatricula multicolor). Every species showed conspecific territoriality, which tended to be weaker during the year of better environmental conditions (wetter and with higher food abundance). We also found a lack of territorial response among the species within the same feeding guild. However, we observed an asymmetric response between the species that use similar nest sites. The Cinnamon Warbling-Finch showed aggression towards the Ringed Warbling-Finch, and this occurred only during the year when the abundance of the former species was high. Our results and previous evidence suggest that territoriality in central Monte desert sparrows is most likely to be driven by defence of reproductive resources, and conflicts over food would be less important. Our results also hint that birds may respond different to both heterospecifics and conspecifics based both on their own abundance and on environmental conditions.

Keywords : Aggression; Food resources; Interspecific territoriality; Intraspecific territoriality; Playback experiments; Reproductive resources.

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