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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 147–153 | Cite as

The effects of helpers in cooperatively breeding purple gallinules

  • Laurie A. Hunter
Article

Summary

The effects of helpers in a population of cooperatively breeding purple gallinules (Porphyrula martinica) were examined. All young birds past the age of 2 months helped feed and protect subsequent broods of chicks and participated in territorial defense. Most helpers remained on their natal territories for approximately 1 year. The number of helpers varied both among and within breeding groups. Clutch production and chick survival were related positively to the number of helpers in the group. The increase in chick survival was independent of several measures of territory quality. Helpers possibly aided chick survival by provicing extra food for the chicks and decreasing predation risk. Helpers were necessary in order for a breeding pair to keep a territory long enough to produce more than one clutch of eggs. A change in the number of helpers (increase or decrease) often was followed by a similar change in territory size. These results suggest that purple gallnule helpers can increase the reproductive success of the breeding group and may be vital for the continued maintenance of a breeding territory.

Keywords

Reproductive Success Predation Risk Breeding Pair Territory Size Territorial Defense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie A. Hunter
    • 1
  1. 1.Departiment of ZoologyUniversity of MontanaMissouaUSA

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