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Nest-site fidelity in Lesser Kestrels: a case of Win–Stay/Lose–Shift?

In: Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution
Authors:
Edith Katsnelson Ilan Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

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Orli Bobek Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

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Adiv Gal Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

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David Saltz Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Sde Boker Campus84990, Israel

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Uzi Motro Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Department of Statistics, and The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

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We studied Lesser Kestrels’ (Falco naumanni) conditional nest-site fidelity, i.e., fidelity that depends on the outcome of the previous nesting attempt in that site. In particular, we were interested in examining whether individual kestrels practice a Win–Stay/Lose–Shift (WSLS) strategy towards their nest-sites; that is, does the tendency to use the same nest-site increase following a successful nesting season, but decrease following a failure. For that purpose, we documented the use of nest-sites by Lesser Kestrels and the breeding success in these sites during 1998–2003 in the city of Jerusalem (Israel). We found that while Lesser Kestrels do not practice WSLS strategy towards their nest-site, the males (but not the females) do so towards their sub-colony – they tend to stay in the same sub-colony if their nesting was successful, whereas they tend to migrate to a different sub-colony after failure. A possible explanation to this sexual difference in WSLS behavior can arise from the fact that changing a sub-colony entails a change of hunting area. The male, being the main food provider in the Lesser Kestrel, may be more sensitive to this opportunity.

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