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Two aberrant serpent-eagles may be visual mimics of bird-eating raptors

AutorNegro, Juan J.
Palabras clavebird of prey
plumage convergence
plumage pattern
snake eagle
Fecha de publicación10-ene-2008
EditorJohn Wiley & Sons
CitaciónIbis (2008), 150 , 307-314
ResumenTwo independent cases of visual mimicry involving snake-eating eagles as mimics and more powerful bird-eating hawks as models are proposed. One pair of species is formed by the sympatric West African Serpent-eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis and Cassin’s Hawk Eagle Spizaetus africanus (= Aquila africana ), inhabiting the tropical forests of the African Gulf of Guinea. The second case involves the Madagascar Serpent-eagle Eutriorchis astur and the Madagascar Goshawk Accipiter henstii , both sympatric and endemics of forests in Madagascar. Similarity in plumage colour and pattern as well as in body size and proportions are remarkable in both cases. The species mimicry pairs are in both cases not closely related phylogenetically and greatly differ in diet, making it unlikely that common ancestry or shared foraging strategies explain the resemblance in plumage coloration and pattern. Mimicry may have evolved because the mimic serpent-eagles obtain (the following hypotheses are not mutually exclusive): (1) a foraging advantage by deceiving their snake prey as they may not flee from bird-eating raptors such as the models, (2) a lowered predation or harassment by the models or other predators, and/or (3) reduced mobbing by small birds, which tend to avoid birdeating raptors. Alternatively, the similarities in plumage described here may be the result of random convergence due to constraints in the evolution of plumage colours and patterns in diurnal raptors.
Versión del editorhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00782.x/pdf
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