Seabird Abstracts

A declaration of intent in the kittiwake gull (Rissa tridactyla)

Daniels D, Heath J & Rawson W (1984) Animal Behaviour 32(4):1151-1156

During the breeding seasons 1979-1982 observations were made of the vocal behaviour of the kittiwake gull (Rissa tridactyla). Attention was directed at the vocal behaviour emitted immediately preceding a bird's departure from the nest and partner. The data indicate that the kittiwake consistently makes only one type of vocalization (the Pre-departure Call) prior to departure and that the behaviour communicates intention to leave nest and partner. An analysis of the behavioural interactions reveals that the Pre-departure Call given by one bird elicits five different categories of response in the other. The data reveal that consequent partner behaviour either sanctioned or prevented absence. The functional significance of the results is discussed.


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