, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 277-279

Natal philopatry and breeding area fidelity of long-billed curlews (Numenius americanus): Patterns and evolutionary consequences

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Long-billed curlews (Numenius americanus) appear unique among scolopacid shorebirds so far studied in possessing a significant sex bias in natal philopatry. We resighted 9 curlews at least attempting to breed that were color-banded as chicks; 8 of these were males. Male curlews also cooperate extensively with neighbors in mobbing potential chick predators. This mutualistic behavior may have evolved through kin selection among philopatric males. If so, we would expect such an evolutionary consequence to lead to a similar sex bias in breeding area fidelity. Yet our resightings of colorbanded adults over 4 consecutive years indicate that males and females were equally likely to return to previous nesting territories. Excessive disturbance such as capture and nest loss within a single breeding season was correlated with the likelihood of breeding dispersal by females but not males. This suggests potentially stronger breeding area fidelity of males.