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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Male care, mate switching, and future reproductive success in a double-brooded passerine

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  • J. Bart
  • Department of Zoology, The Ohio State University, 1735 Neil Avenue, 43210, Columbus, OH, USA

Little is known of the factors that cause monogamous, double-brooded birds to keep the same mates, or switch mates, between nesting attempts within one breeding season. Only one factor, success or failure of the first attempt, has been investigated, and it appears to be important in some species but unimportant in others. Kendeigh (1941) mentioned another possible factor in his study of house wrens (Troglodytes aedon). About half his males cared for their young after nest departure, but the other half did not, and caring males remated with the same female about twice as often as noncaring males did. Kendeigh did not discuss why some males provided care for the fledglings and other males did not. He commented, however, that the young usually foraged outside the territory while under their parents' care, and he provided detailed narrative accounts of each nesting attempt that mention many cases of males losing their territory while caring for their young. I reanalyzed Kendeigh's data in order to determine whether males that cared for their fledglings lost their territories more frequently than other males, and to determine whether this decreased their overall reproductive success for the season. The analysis showed that about half the caring males lost their territory and failed to regain a new one. This almost never happened to noncaring males. As a result, males that cared for their young were less than half as likely as noncaring males to bring a second nesting attempt to successful completion during the remainder of the season. Males thus had to choose, at nest departure, between caring for their first brood or maximizing their chance of producing a second brood that season. It is possible that males provided care if a large brood left the nest but withheld it if the brood was small. Such a conditional strategy would probably have maximized the male's overall reproductive success. This analysis emphasizes the importance, in double-brooded species, of the territory being large enough to provide food for the entire family group until the young reach independance. Support for this thesis is provided by a study of the conspecific tropical house wren in which pairs did remain on their territories throughout the year. All males participated in feeding the young after nest departure, and only 2% of the individuals changed mates between nesting attempts.

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  • 1 - health sciences
  • 2 - psychology & cognitive sciences
  • 3 - behavioral science & comparative psychology
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  • 1 - sciences humaines et sociales
  • 2 - art et archeologie
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Animal Science and Zoology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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  • 1 - science ; 2 - zoology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - behavioral sciences
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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

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