Advertisement

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 279–284 | Cite as

Incubation feeding in snow buntings: female manipulation or indirect male parental care?

  • Bruce E. Lyon
  • Robert D. Montgomerie
Article

Summary

Male snow buntings regularly feed their mates on the nest during the incubation period. We removed males from 7 females at the start of incubation (Early Widows) and from 7 others when the eggs hatched (Late Widows) to experimentally assess the effects of incubation feeding on the behaviour of females and the reproductive success of both parents. Early Widows spent significantly more time off their nests than Late Widows and Controls. As a consequence, Early Widows had significantly longer incubation periods and a significantly higher proportion of them lost two or more eggs during development. There was no difference between Early and Late Widows in any index of reproductive success measured during the nestling period although significantly earlier brood reduction suggests that Early Widows were in poorer condition than Late Widows. Since both parents benefitted from incubation feeding by increased hatching success and shorter incubation periods, we conclude that this behaviour is an adaptive form of indirect parental care by males and is not the result of female manipulation.

Keywords

Incubation Period Reproductive Success Parental Care Poor Condition Hatching Success 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Birkhead TR (1979) Mate guarding in the magpie (Pica pica). Anim Behav 27:866–874Google Scholar
  2. Blagosklonov KN (1978) Experimental analysis of the rhythm of incubation in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Sov J Ecol 8:340–344 (translated from Ekologiya (1971) 4:66–71Google Scholar
  3. East M (1981) Aspects of courtship and parental care in the European robin Erithacus rubecula. Ornis Scand 12:230–239Google Scholar
  4. Emlen ST, Oring LW (1977) Ecology, sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems. Science 197:215–223Google Scholar
  5. Haartman L von (1958) The incubation rhythm of the female pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) in the precence and absence of the male. Ornis Fenn 35:71–76Google Scholar
  6. Hussell DJT (1972) Factors affecting clutch size in arctic passerines. Ecol Monogr 42:317–364Google Scholar
  7. Kendeigh SC (1952) Parental care and its evolution in birds. Ill Biol Monogr 22:1–357Google Scholar
  8. Knowlton N (1979) Reproductive synchrony, parental investment and the evolutionary dynamics of sexual selection. Anim Behav 27:1022–1033Google Scholar
  9. Lack D (1968) Ecological adaptations for breeding in birds. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Lundy H (1969) A review of the effects of temperature, humidity, turning and gaseous environment in the incubator on the hatchability of the hen's egg. In: Carter TC, Freeman BM (eds) The fertility and hatchability of the hen's egg. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, pp 143–176Google Scholar
  11. Lyon BE (1984) Why male snow buntings feed their mates: evolutionary and ecological considerations. MSc thesis, Queen's University, Kingston, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  12. Montgomerie RD, Cartar RV, McLaughlin RL, Lyon B (1983) Birds of Sarcpa Lake, Melville Peninsula, Northwest Territories: breeding phenologies, densities and biogeography. Arctic 36:65–75Google Scholar
  13. Newton I (1979) Population ecology of raptors. Buteo, Vermillion, SDGoogle Scholar
  14. Niebuhr V (1980) An investigation of courtship feeding in herring gulls Larus argentatus. Ibis 123:218–223Google Scholar
  15. Nolan V Jr (1978) The ecology and behavior of the prairie warbler Dendroica discolor. Ornithol Monogr 26:1–195Google Scholar
  16. Perrins CM (1965) Pipulation fluctuations and clutch size in the great tit Parus major L. J Anim Ecol 34:601–647Google Scholar
  17. Ricklefs RE (1965) Brood reduction in the curve-billed thrasher. Condor 67:505–510Google Scholar
  18. Ricklefs RE (1969) An analysis of nesting mortality in birds. Smithson Contrib Zool 9:1–48Google Scholar
  19. Ricklefs RE (1974) Energetics of reproduction in birds. In: Paynter RA Jr (ed) Avian energetics. Publ Nuttall Ornithol Club 15:152–292Google Scholar
  20. Ricklefs RE (1983) Avian postnatal development. In: Farner DS, King JR (eds) Avian biology, vol 7. Academic, New York, pp 1–83Google Scholar
  21. Romanoff AL, Romanoff AJ (1972) Pathogenesis of the avian embryo. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Roskaft E (1983) Sex role partitioning and parental care in the rook Corvus frugilegus. Ornis Scand 14:180–187Google Scholar
  23. SAS Institute (1982) SAS user's guide: statistics. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  24. Skutch AF (1953) How the male discovers the nestlings. Ibis 95:1–37Google Scholar
  25. Smith SM (1980) Demand behavior — a new interpretation of courtship feeding. Condor 82:291–295Google Scholar
  26. Tinbergen N (1939) The behavior of the snow bunting in spring. Trans Linn Soc NY 5:1–94Google Scholar
  27. Weatherhead PJ, Robertson RJ (1980) Altruism in the savannah sparrow. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 6:185–186Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce E. Lyon
    • 1
  • Robert D. Montgomerie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations