Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 112–114 | Cite as

Classical polyandry found in the three-toed woodpecker Picoides tridactylus

  • Peter PechacekEmail author
  • Klaus G. Michalek
  • Hans Winkler
  • Donald Blomqvist
Short Note


We report two cases of simultaneous, social polyandry in the three-toed woodpecker Picoides tridactylus found in Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany during an 11-year study. The first case was between two neighbouring pairs in 2003. A female incubated both of her clutches during a period of at least 8 days. The second case was in 2004 between a widowed male and a female of a neighbouring pair. This time, a female divided parental care between her two clutches during a period of at least 27 days. We hypothesise that social polyandry in the three-toed woodpecker may be linked to the parental quality of the first male.


Parental quality Simultaneous Social polyandry Woodpeckers 



The study was mainly financed by the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Landesentwicklung und Umweltfragen. We thank over 40 volunteers, especially Tobias Berlit, Philipp Herrmann and Jochen Roos, who helped with the field work. We also thank Karen L. Wiebe and Johan G. van Rhijn for their comments. The study fulfilled the current German-Bavarian law and was permitted by the Regierung von Oberbayern (permit number 820-8642.3-10/95)


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Pechacek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Klaus G. Michalek
    • 2
  • Hans Winkler
    • 3
  • Donald Blomqvist
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Östereichischer Naturschutzbund Landesgruppe BurgenlandJoseph-Haydn-Gasse 11EisenstadtAustria
  3. 3.Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology Austrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of Zoology University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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