Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 357–361 | Cite as

Does juvenile helping enhance breeder reproductive success?

A removal experiment on moorhens
  • M. L. Leonard
  • A. G. Horn
  • S. F. Eden


Helping-at-the-nest has been studied in a number of avian species. In many cases helping appears to enhance the reproductive success of the breeders. Because assistance is often provided to kin, this help also indirectly affects the success of the helper. In our study we examined the ways in which juvenile moorhens (Gallinula chloropus) assist their parents. We also conducted a removal experiment to determine whether the help provided increases reproductive success independently of parental and territory quality. Juvenile moorhens assist their parents by feeding younger sibs and by territory and predator defense. However, the results of our removal experiment suggest that this help has little effect on reproductive success (Table 2). Thus the helping effect originally reported in this population may be confounded by parental and territory quality.


Reproductive Success Avian Species Removal Experiment Territory Quality Predator Defense 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Leonard
    • 1
  • A. G. Horn
    • 1
  • S. F. Eden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom

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