Are birds more afraid in urban parks or cemeteries? A Latin American study contrasts with results from Europe

Federico Morelli, Lucas M. Leveau, Peter Mikula, Ian MacGregor-Fors, M. Lucia Bocelli, Sergio Gabriel Quesada-Acuña, César González-Lagos, Pablo Gutiérrez-Tapia, Gabriela Franzoi Dri, Carlos A. Delgado-V., Alvaro Garitano Zavala, Jackeline Campos, Rubén Ortega-Álvarez, A. Isain Contreras-Rodríguez, Daniela Souza López, Maria Cecília B. Toledo, Andres Sarquis, Alejandro Giraudo, Ada Lilian Echevarria, María Elisa FanjulMaría Valeria Martínez, Josefina Haedo, Luis Gonzalo Cano Sanz, Yuri Adais Peña Dominguez, Viviana Fernandez, Veronica Marinero, Vinícius Abilhoa, Rafael Amorin, Carla Suertegaray Fontana, Thaiane Weinert da Silva, Sarah Sandri Zalewski Vargas, Juan F. Escobar Ibañez, María Dolores Juri, Sergio R. Camín, Luis Marone, Augusto João Piratelli, Alexandre Gabriel Franchin, Larissa Crispim, Julieta Benitez, Yanina Benedetti

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The escape behaviour, measured as flight initiation distance (FID; the distance at which individuals take flight when approached by a potential predator, usually a human in the study systems), is a measure widely used to study fearfulness and risk-taking in animals. Previous studies have shown significant differences in the escape behaviour of birds inhabiting cemeteries and urban parks in European cities, where birds seem to be shyer in the latter. We collected a regional dataset of the FID of birds inhabiting cemeteries and parks across Latin America in peri-urban, suburban and urban parks and cemeteries. FIDs were recorded for eighty-one bird species. Mean species-specific FIDs ranged from 1.9 to 19.7 m for species with at least two observations (fifty-seven species). Using Bayesian regression modelling and controlling for the phylogenetic relatedness of the FID among bird species and city and country, we found that, in contrast to a recent publication from Europe, birds escape earlier in cemeteries than parks in the studied Latin American cities. FIDs were also significantly shorter in urban areas than in peri-urban areas and in areas with higher human density. Our results indicate that some idiosyncratic patterns in animal fearfulness towards humans may emerge among different geographic regions, highlighting difficulties with scaling up and application of regional findings to other ecosystems and world regions. Such differences could be associated with intrinsic differences between the pool of bird species from temperate European and mostly tropical Latin American cities, characterized by different evolutionary histories, but also with differences in the historical process of urbanization.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo160534
PublicaciónScience of the Total Environment
EstadoPublicada - 25 feb. 2023
Publicado de forma externa


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