ASPECTS OF THE BEHAVIOUR AND ECOLOGY OF MIXED‐SPECIES BIRD FLOCKS IN KASHMIR
Macdonald DW., Henderson DG.
Mixed‐species flocks of birds were observed between the end of July and late August, principally at Daksum, Kashmir, 2250 m. The species composition and the numbers of individuals in flocks changed during this period; these changes are attributed to resident territory holders and migrant birds joining the flocks. Within the flock different species showed some differences in foraging stations, but nevertheless often appeared to be taking the same type of food. Participant species had different roles in the flock organization. Behaviours involving the entire mixed‐flock acting as a unit included path reversal after encounters with avian predators and a tendency to follow set routes. The mixed‐ species flock exerted an attractive influence on aggregations of species not normally participant. Similarities between the flocks described in this study and those recorded by other workers are discussed. While different species may derive different benefits from joining these flocks, advantages that could benefit some or all participants include the receipt of information on good feeding areas in an unfamiliar locality, the avoidance of time wasted on feeding on substrates which have been very recently harvested, the beating effect to increase prey availability, and enhanced safety from predators, perhaps through differential alertness of different species and specialized anti‐predator behaviour. Copyright © 1977, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved