Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 61–67 | Cite as

Economics of courtship-feeding in the European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

  • M. I. Avery
  • J. R. Krebs
  • A. I. Houston
Article

Summary

Male bee-eaters Merops apiaster deliver food to the female before and during egg-laying. They tend to give females large items and eat the small ones themselves. We consider several hypotheses to account for size-selective feeding. The following hypotheses were rejected or considered unlikely to account for the data: (1) effects related to central-place foraging (2) differences in nutrient quality between prey (3) sexual selection (4) maximization of total feeding rate to the pair (5) maximization of intake rate to the male subject to a constraint of meeting female needs. The best account of the data was given by the hypothesis that the rate of energy delivered to the female is maximized subject to a constraint of meeting the daily energy needs of the male.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aschoff J, Pohl H (1970) Der Ruheumsatz von Vögeln als Funktion der Tageszeit und der Körpergrösse. J Orn 111:38–47Google Scholar
  2. Avery MI, Krebs JR, Hegner RE (1984) A case of bigamy in the European Bee-eater Merops apiaster. Auk 101:609–610Google Scholar
  3. Bassett PA (1978) The vegetation of a Camargue pasture. J Ecol 62:803–877Google Scholar
  4. Boy V, Duncan P (1979) Time-budgets of Camargue horses: I developmental changes in the time budgets of foals. Behaviour 71:187–202Google Scholar
  5. Bryant DM, Hails CJ, Tatner P (1984) Reproductive energetics of two tropical bird species. Auk 101:25–37Google Scholar
  6. Charnov EL (1976) Optimal foraging: the marginal value theorem. Theor Popul Biol 9:129–136Google Scholar
  7. Curio, E (1959) Verhaltensstudien am Trauerschnäpper. Beiträge zur Ethologie und Ökologie von Muscicapa h. hypoleuca Pallas. Z Tierpsychol 3:1–118Google Scholar
  8. Dyer N, Demeter A (1981) Notes on the provisioning rates of Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) in north-east Hungary. Aquila 88:87–89Google Scholar
  9. Kacelnik A (1984) Central place foraging in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) I. patch residence time. J Anim Ecol 53:283–300Google Scholar
  10. Krebs JR (1970) The efficiency of courtship feeding in the Blue Tit Parus caeruleus. Ibis 112:108–110Google Scholar
  11. Krebs JR, Avery MI (1984) Chick growth and prey quality in the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster). Oecologia (Berlin) 64:363–368Google Scholar
  12. Lack D (1940) Courtship feeding in birds. Auk 57:169–178Google Scholar
  13. Niebuhr V (1981) An investigation of courtship feeding in Herring Gulls Larus argentatus. Ibis 123:218–223Google Scholar
  14. Nisbet ICT (1973) Courtship-feeding, egg-size and breeding success in Common Terns. Nature 241:141–142Google Scholar
  15. Nisbet ICT (1977) Courtship-feeding and clutch size in Common Terns Sterna hirundo. In: Stonehouse B, Perrins C (eds) Evolutionary Ecology. MacMillan, London, pp 101–109Google Scholar
  16. Orians GH, Pearson NE (1979) On the theory of central place foraging. In: Horn DJ, Mitchell RD, Stairs GR (eds) Analysis of Ecological Systems. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, pp 154–177Google Scholar
  17. Royama T (1966) A re-interpretation of courtship feeding. Bird Study 13:116–129Google Scholar
  18. Swift JJ (1959) Lè guepier d'Europe Merops apiaster L. en Camargue. Alauda 27:97–143Google Scholar
  19. Thornhill R (1976) Sexual selection and nuptial feeding in Bittacus apicalis (Insecta: Mecoptera). Am Nat 110:529–548Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. I. Avery
    • 1
  • J. R. Krebs
    • 1
  • A. I. Houston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyEdward Grey Institute of Field OrnithologyOxfordGreat Britain
  2. 2.Royal Society for Protection of BridsSandyGreat Britain

Personalised recommendations