Observations of indirect filial cannibalism in response to nest failure of Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Wilson Journal of Ornithology
By: , and 

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Abstract

During 2011, four separate instances of indirect filial cannibalism, whereby adults consumed their young that died from unknown causes, were observed using video-monitoring techniques in a nesting colony of Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) on Alcatraz Island. Though they were not observed actively killing their young, in all four observations adult Black-crowned Night-Herons consumed their young following death (i.e., indirect filial cannibalism). We could not determine cause of chick mortality, but parental neglect was likely a contributing factor in at least two instances. Indirect filial cannibalism is not commonly documented among birds, and understanding how cannibalism contributes to nest failure can help researchers better understand factors that limit nesting populations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Observations of indirect filial cannibalism in response to nest failure of Black-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Series title Wilson Journal of Ornithology
DOI 10.1676/16-013.1
Volume 129
Issue 2
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Wilson Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 5 p.
First page 390
Last page 394
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Alcatraz Island
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