Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Antczak M., Hromada M. & Tryjanowski P. (2005) Spatio-temporal changes in Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor impaling behaviour: from food caching to communication signs. ARDEA 93 (1): 101-107
We studied temporal and spatial patterns of impaling behaviour in a resident population of the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor throughout the year. The information was collected in western Poland during the years 20002003. The presented findings indicate several seasonal shifts in the pattern of impaling behaviour, expressed as changes in the taxonomic composition of larders, level of food consumption, concealment of impaling places, as well as the spatial distribution of larders. During the mating period, males impaled more prey before mating than afterwards, the majority of prey was located on borders of territories and in visible places, and a large part of the prey was left uneaten. The pattern described above indicates that during the mating period impaling behaviour has a signalling function. In contrast, during the breeding stages impaling was primarily used to store food the distance from larders to nests decreased, more prey were stored in well hidden places, and a larger proportion of stored food was consumed.


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