Brood parasitism and quasi-parasitism in the European barn swallow Hirundo rustica rustica
- 454 Downloads
We studied patterns of extra-pair maternity (EPM) in 245 nests (225 nests belonging to 120 females of known identity) of sexually promiscuous European barn swallows (Hirundo rustica rustica) over a 3-year period. At least one EPM nestling was identified in 54 nests (22.0 %), representing 5.7 % of a total of 1060 nestlings. Up to 28.3 % of all EPM nestlings resulted from quasi-parasitism (QP), whereby nest-attending males sired parasitic offspring. Nests of quasi-parasitic females were never in close proximity to the host nest. Our data thus indicate nonrandom QP patterns in our population suggesting that QP can be considered a third alternative reproductive strategy alongside extra-pair paternity (EPP) and intraspecific brood parasitism (IBP). Of several socioecological factors evaluated, only number of simultaneous egg-laying females in the population proved a good predictor for EPM occurrence. Whereas parasitic females produced more offspring per breeding attempt than was the population average, both QP and IBP affected host female reproductive output, being associated with a reduced number of her offspring produced from the nest. On the contrary, QP resulted in an increase in the number of offspring produced by nest-attending males, suggesting that males may benefit from cooperating with parasitic females at the expense of their social partners.
KeywordsAltricial birds Colonial breeding Conspecific brood parasitism Egg dumping Host fitness Parasite fitness
We would like to thank all of our field assistants. Kevin Roche, Rebecca J. Safran, Nicola Saino, and one anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments on the manuscript. This study would not have been possible without the collaboration of local farm owners, specifically the Kotrba family at Hamr farm, the Kraus family at Šaloun farm, the Pulec family, and the staff of the Obora Stables in Třeboň. This research was funded through project 146213 of the Grant Agency of Charles University (to AP) and project P506/12/2472 of the Czech Science Foundation (to TA).
The project was designed by TA, JC, RM, and AP; data was collected by all authors; paternity and maternity analysis was conducted by JK, RM, and PM; TA and AP analyzed the data for this paper; TA, RM, and AP wrote the manuscript with contributions from all coauthors.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All protocols were noninvasive and adhered to the laws and guidelines of the Czech Republic (Czech Research Permit numbers 6628/2008-10001). All protocols were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committees at the Czech Academy of Sciences (041/2011), and Charles University in Prague (4789/2008-30).
- Bennett PM, Owens IPF (2002) Evolutionary ecology of birds. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Brown CR, Brown MB (1988) The costs and benefits of egg destruction by conspecifics in colonial cliff swallows. Auk 105:737–748Google Scholar
- Dawkins R (1980) Good strategy or evolutionarily stable strategy. In: Barlow GW, Silverberg J (eds) Sociobiology: beyond nature/nurture? Westview Press, Boulder, pp 331–367Google Scholar
- Eadie JM (1989) Alternative female reproductive tactics in a precocial bird: The ecology and evolution of brood parasitism in goldeneyes. PhD Thesis, University of British Columbia, VancouverGoogle Scholar
- Gibbons DW (1986) Brood parasitism and cooperative nesting in the moorhen, Gallinula-chloropus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 19:221–232Google Scholar
- Kendra PE, Roth RR, Tallamy DW (1988) Conspecific brood parasitism in the house sparrow. Wilson Bull 100:80–90Google Scholar
- Laurila T, Hario M (1988) Environmental and genetic factors influencing clutch size, egg volume, date of laying and female weight in the common eider Somateria mollissima. Finn Game Res 45:19–30Google Scholar
- Møller AP (1994) Sexual selection and the barn swallow. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- R Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Sayler RD (1992) Ecology and evolution of brood parasitism in waterfowl. In: Batt BDJ, Afton AD, Anderson MG, Ankney CD, Johnson DH, Kadlec JA, Krapu GL (eds) Ecology and management of breeding waterfowl. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 290–322Google Scholar
- Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (2012) Biometry. W. H. Freeman & Co, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Spurr EB, Milne H (1976) Factors affecting laying date in the Common Eider. Wildfowl 27:107–110Google Scholar
- Svensson L (1984) Identification guide to European passerines, 2nd edn. Svensson, StockholmGoogle Scholar