Shiny cowbird parasitism in two avian communities in Puerto Rico




The shiny cowbird (M. bonariensis), a brood parasite, has recently expanded its range from South America to Puerto Rico via the Lesser Antilles. This species is a host generalist and, on reaching Puerto Rico, encounteed avian species with no history of social parasitism. In mangrove habitat study areas, 42% of the resident non-raptorial land bird species were parasitized. Some species were heavily parasitized; e.g., yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia), 76% of nests parasitized black-whiskered vireo (Vireo altiloquus), 82%, Puerto Rican flycatcher (Myiarchus antillarum), 85%, yellow-shouldered blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus), 95%, troupial (Icterus icterus), 100%, black-cowled oriole (I. dominicensis), 100%. Others suffered low rates of parasitism (2-17% of nests examined); e.g., gray kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), red-legged thrush (Turdus plumbeus), bronze mannikin (Lonchura cucullata), northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), greater antillean grackle (Quiscalus niger). Cowbird parasitism affected hosts by depressing nest success an average of 41% below non-parasitized nests and reducing host productivity. Parasitized host nests hatched 12% fewer eggs an fledged 67% fewer of their own chicks than non-parasitized pairs.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Shiny cowbird parasitism in two avian communities in Puerto Rico
Series title Condor
Volume 87
Issue 2
Year Published 1985
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 165-176
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Condor
First page 165
Last page 176
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