, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 547-553
Date: 20 Apr 2005

Parental care behavior in the monogamous, sexually dimorphic Madagascar paradise flycatcher: sex differences and the effect of brood size

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I studied the parental care behavior of the Madagascar paradise flycatcher Terpsiphone mutata in northwestern Madagascar. I especially focused on feeding, brooding and vigilance behaviors. Feeding rate did not differ between males and females, but females spent more time at the nest than males. Females dedicated their time to brooding, while males perched on the nest and were vigilant. Both parents changed the feeding rate in relation to brood size, so the feeding rate per nestling was not different among nests of different brood size. Duration of brooding by females increased with decreasing brood size, suggesting that the Royama effect, the pattern of lower feeding rate per nestling in larger broods, did not apply in this study. Males spent more time on vigilance than females. Anti-predator vigilance by males should be important for nestling survival given the high predation pressure typical of this population. In conclusion, males provide considerable parental care probably to minimize nestling starvation and to avoid nest predation. My results are not consistent with the general pattern of less parental effort by males in monogamous, sexually dimorphic species.