Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Predator hunting behaviour and prey vulnerability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

JL Quinn, Will Cresswell

School/Research organisations

Abstract

1. Game theoretic models of how animals manage predation risk have begun to describe predator responses to prey behaviour relatively recently. This is partly because our understanding of how terrestrial predators select vertebrate prey is often limited to numerical and functional responses to measures of prey abundance. Prey vulnerability, however, may improve our understanding of predation because predators could maximize foraging success by selecting prey on this basis.

2. We tested the hypothesis that sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus L.), a typical generalist predator, hunt redshanks (Tringa totanus L.), a favoured prey species on coastal shores, primarily on the basis of their vulnerability rather than their abundance.

3. Five direct measures or indicators of redshank behaviour predicted sparrowhawk attack success in a multipredictor statistical model and therefore serve as measures of redshank vulnerability.

4. These and other vulnerability measures influenced whether sparrowhawks decided to hunt redshanks on saltmarsh habitat. A model that included most of these measures predicted correctly whether sparrowhawks hunted redshanks (attack decision) 90% of the time and accounted for up to 75% of variation. Prey abundance accounted for no additional variation.

5. Thus the hunting behaviour of some predators can only be predicted well by several highly dynamic and interacting factors related to prey vulnerability. These results mean that, theoretically at least, the management of prey populations may sometimes be achieved best by manipulating prey vulnerability, rather than by culling their predators.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume73
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

    Research areas

  • attack success, predation, prey availability, redshank, sparrowhawk, vigilance, REDSHANK TRINGA-TOTANUS, GROUP-SIZE, SOUTHEAST SCOTLAND, REDUCE PREDATION, RAPTOR PREDATION, HEN HARRIERS, RISK, VIGILANCE, SELECTION, TIME

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Conservation research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa is improving, although only in a few countries

    Pototsky, C. & Cresswell, W., 9 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Oryx.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A fruit diet rather than invertebrate diet maintains a robust innate immunity in an omnivorous tropical songbird

    Nwaogu, C. J., Galema, A., Cresswell, W., Dietz, M. W. & Tieleman, B. I., 3 Jan 2020, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. FragSAD: a database of diversity and species abundance distributions from habitat fragments

    Chase, J. M., Liebergesell, M., Sagouis, A., May, F., Blowes, S. A., Berg, Å., Bernard, E., Brosi, B. J., Cadotte, M. W., Cayuela, L., Chiarello, A. G., Cosson, J. F., Cresswell, W., Dami, F. D., Dauber, J., Dickman, C. R., Didham, R. K., Edwards, D. P., Farneda, F. Z., Gavish, Y. & 22 others, Gonçalves-Souza, T., Guadagnin, D. L., Henry, M., López-Baucells, A., Kappes, H., Mac Nally, R., Manu, S., Martensen, A. C., McCollin, D., Meyer, C. F. J., Neckel-Oliveira, S., Nogueira, A., Pons, J-M., Raheem, D. C., Ramos, F. N., Rocha, R., Sam, K., Slade, E., Stireman, J. O., Struebig, M. J., Vasconcelos, H. & Ziv, Y., Dec 2019, In : Ecology. 100, 12, 1 p., e02861.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Weak breeding seasonality of a songbird in a seasonally arid tropical environment arises from individual flexibility and strongly seasonal moult

    Nwaogu, C. J., Tieleman, B. I. & Cresswell, W., Jul 2019, In : Ibis. 161, 3, p. 533-545 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. A fruit diet rather than invertebrate diet maintains a robust innate immunity in an omnivorous tropical songbird

    Nwaogu, C. J., Galema, A., Cresswell, W., Dietz, M. W. & Tieleman, B. I., 3 Jan 2020, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Environment-sensitive mass changes influence breeding in a capital breeding marine top predator

    Smout, S. C., King, R. & Pomeroy, P., 20 Nov 2019, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Optimizing the use of biologgers for movement ecology research

    Williams, H., Taylor, L., Benhamou, S., Bijleveld, A., Clay, T., de Grissac, S., Demsar, U., English, H., Franconi, N., Gómez-Laich, A., Griffiths, R., Kay, W., Morales, J. M., Potts, J., Rogerson, K., Rutz, C., Spelt, A., Trevail, A., Wilson, R. & Börger, L., 1 Oct 2019, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Seasonal differences in baseline innate immune function are better explained by environment than annual cycle stage in a year-round breeding tropical songbird

    Nwaogu, C. J., Cresswell, W., Versteegh, M. A. & Tieleman, B. I., 8 Apr 2019, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. 88, 4, p. 537-553 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Sexual signal loss: the link between behaviour and rapid evolutionary dynamics in a field cricket

    Zuk, M., Bailey, N. W., Gray, B. & Rotenberry, J. T., 5 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 298722

Top