Advertisement

Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 249–260 | Cite as

The peak load reduction hypothesis for avian hatching asynchrony

  • Douglas W. Mock
  • P. L. Schwagmeyer
Papers

Summary

According to the Peak Load Reduction Hypothesis, avian parents establish within-brood hatching asynchrony (via early incubation of first-laid eggs) in order to lower the maximum level of the brood's daily food demands. By offsetting the individual demand curves by a day or more, parents may be able to achieve adaptive levels of effort relief. We examined the potential parental savings from this strategy by developing a simple analytical model wherein individual offspring demand curves were either aligned (as in synchronous hatching) or displaced by a hatching interval variable (asynchronous hatching). Parental savings were calculated for various common brood sizes and hatching intervals.

The results show that substantial savings can accrue to parents if both broods and hatching intervals are large or if individual demand curves rise to a high, narrow peak. However, the parameter values necessary for load reductions of even 5% appear seldom, if ever, met in nature. Unless very small savings have disproportionate value to parents, it seems unlikely that hatching asynchrony evolved because of its direct effects on trimming parental effort. The possibility remains open that adaptive levels of parental savings could result from a secondary interaction between a modest initial hatching interval and consequent competition among nestlings, which can greatly amplify the chicks' growth rate differences.

Keywords

Hatching asynchrony adaptive savings nestling competition 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amundsen, T. and Stokland, J. N. (1988) Adaptive significance of asynchronous hatching in the shag: a test of the brood reduction hypothesis.J. Anim. Ecol. 57, 329–44.Google Scholar
  2. Bryant, D. M. (1978) Establishment of weight hierarchies in the broods of house martinsDelichon urbica.Ibis 120, 16–26.Google Scholar
  3. Bryant, D. M. and Gardiner, A. (1979) Energetics of growth in house martins (Delichon urbica).J. Zool. Lond.189, 275–304.Google Scholar
  4. Buitron, D. (1988) Female and male specialization in parental care and its consequences in black-billed magpies.Condor 90, 29–39.Google Scholar
  5. Bunn, D. S., Warburton, A. B. and Wilson, R. D. S. (1982)The Barn Owl. Buteo Books, Vermillion, S.D.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, A. B. and Wilson, D. S. (1981) Avian breeding adaptations: hatching asynchrony, brood reduction and nest failure.Quart. Rev. Biol. 56, 253–77.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, A. B. and Wilson, D. S. (1985) The onset of incubation in birds.Amer. Nat. 125, 603–11.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, L. (1984) Consequences of homeothermic capacity of nestlings on parental care in the European starling.Oecologia (Berl.)65, 387–93.Google Scholar
  9. Crossner, K. (1977) Natural selection and clutch size in the European starling.Ecology 58, 885–92.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, N. B. (1976) Farental care and the transition to independent feeding in the young spotted flycatcher.Behaviour 59, 280–95.Google Scholar
  11. Drent, R. H. and Daan, S. (1980) The prudent parent: energetic adjustments in avian breeding.Ardea 68, 225–52.Google Scholar
  12. Drummond, H., Gonzalez, E. and Osorno, J. (1986) Parent-offspring cooperation in the blue-footed booby,Sula nebouxii.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 19, 365–72.Google Scholar
  13. Dunn, E. H. (1979) Time-energy use and life history strategies of northern seabirds. InConservation of Marine Birds of Northern North America.Wildl. Res. Report No. 11 (J. C. Bartonek and D. N. Nettleship, eds) pp. 141–66. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  14. Edwards, T. C. Jr. and Collopy, M. W. (1983) Obligate and facultative brood reduction in eagles: an examination of factors that influence fratricide.Auk 100, 630–5.Google Scholar
  15. Fujioka, M. (1985a) Food delivery and sibling competition in experimentally even-aged broods of the cattle egret.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 17, 67–74.Google Scholar
  16. Fujioka, M. (1985b) Feeding behaviour, sibling competition and siblicide in asynchronously hatching broods of the cattle egretBubulcus ibis.Anim. Behav. 33, 1228–42.Google Scholar
  17. Gibb, J. (1950) The breeding biology of the great and blue titmice.92, 507–39.Google Scholar
  18. Gibbons, D. (1987) Hatching asynchrony reduces parental investment in the jackdaw.J. Anim. Ecol. 56, 403–14.Google Scholar
  19. Hahn, D. C. (1981) Asynchronous hatching in the laughing gull: cutting losses and reducing rivalry.Anim. Behav. 29, 421–7.Google Scholar
  20. Hamilton, W. D. (1964) The genetical evolution of social behaviour, I & II.J. theor. Biol. 7, 1–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Howe, H. F. (1976) Egg size, hatching asynchrony, sex, and brood reduction in the common grackle.Ecology 57, 1195–207.Google Scholar
  22. Howe, H. F. (1978) Initial investment, clutch size, and brood reduction in the common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula L.).Ecology 59, 1109–22.Google Scholar
  23. Hussell, D. J. T. (1972) Factors affecting clutch-size in Arctic passerines.Ecol. Monogr. 42, 317–64.Google Scholar
  24. Hussell, D. J. T. (1985) On the adaptive basis for hatching asynchrony: brood reduction, nest failure, and asynchronous hatching in snow buntings.Ornis Scandinavica 16, 205–12.Google Scholar
  25. Ingram, C. (1959) The importance of juvenile cannibalism in the breeding biology of certain birds of prey.Auk 76, 218–26.Google Scholar
  26. Inoue, Y. (1985) The process of asynchronous hatching and sibling competition in the little egretEgretta garzetta.Col. Waterbirds 8, 1–12.Google Scholar
  27. Lack, D. (1947) The significance of clutch-size. Parts 1 & 2.89, 302–52.Google Scholar
  28. Lack, D. (1954)The Natural Regulation of Animal Numbers. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  29. Lack, D. (1968)Ecological Adaptations for Breeding in Birds. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  30. Lamey, T. C. (In press) Hatch asynchrony and brood reduction in penguins. InPenguin Biology: Ecology, Ethology, Evolution and Ecophysiology (L. S. Davis and J. Darby, eds). Academic Press, N.Y.Google Scholar
  31. Lessells, C. M. and Avery, M. I. (1989) Hatching asynchrony in European bee-eatersMerops apiaster.J. Anim. Ecol. 58, 815–35.Google Scholar
  32. Magrath, R. D. (1989) Hatching asynchrony and reproductive success in the blackbird.Nature 339, 536–8.Google Scholar
  33. Mead, P. S. and Morton, M. L. (1985) Hatching asynchrony in the mountain white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha): a selected or incidental trait?Auk 102, 781–92.Google Scholar
  34. Mikkola, H. (1983)Owls of Europe. Colton: T. and A. D. Poyser.Google Scholar
  35. Mock, D. W. (1984) Infanticide, siblicide, and avian nestling mortality. InInfanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives (G. Hausfater and S. B. Hrdy, eds) pp. 3–30. Aldine Publ. Co., New York.Google Scholar
  36. Mock, D. W. (1985) Siblicidal brood reduction: the prey-size hypothesis.Amer. Nat. 125, 327–43.Google Scholar
  37. Mock, D. W. (1987) Siblicide, parent-offspring conflict, and unequal parental investment by egrets and herons.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 20, 247–56.Google Scholar
  38. Mock, D. W. and Ploger, B. J. (1987) Parental manipulation of optimal hatch asynchrony in cattle egrets: an experimental study.Anim. Behav. 35, 150–60.Google Scholar
  39. Murphy, E. C. and Haukioja, E. (1987) Clutch size in nidicolous birds.Current Ornithol. 5, 141–80.Google Scholar
  40. Nur, N. (1984) Feeding frequencies of nestling blue tits (Parus caeruleus): costs, benefits and a model of optimal feeding frequency.Oecologia 65, 125–37.Google Scholar
  41. O'Connor, R. J. (1978) Brood reduction in birds: selection for infanticide, fratricide, and suicide?Anim Behav. 26, 79–96.Google Scholar
  42. O'Connor, R. J. (1984)The Growth and Development of Birds, J. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, U.K.Google Scholar
  43. Ricklefs, R. E. (1983) Avian postnatal development. InAvian Biology (D. S. Farner, J. R. King and K. C. Parkes, eds) pp 1–89. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Royama, T. (1966) Factors governing feeding rate, food requirement and brood size of nestling great tits Parus major.108, 313–47.Google Scholar
  45. Shaw, P. (1985) Brood reduction in the blue-eyed shagPhalacrocorax atriceps.127, 476–94.Google Scholar
  46. Skagen, S. K. (1988) Asynchronous hatching and food limitation: a test of Lack's hypothesis.Auk 105, 78–88.Google Scholar
  47. Slagsvold, T. (1985) Asynchronous hatching in passerine birds: influence of hatching failure and brood reduction.Ornis Scand. 16, 81–7.Google Scholar
  48. Slagsvold, T. (1986) Asynchronous versus synchronous hatching in birds: experiments with the pied flycatcher.J. Anim. Ecol. 55, 1115–34.Google Scholar
  49. Slagsvold, T. and Lifjeld, J. T. (1989) Hatching asynchrony in birds: the hypothesis of sexual conflict over parental investment.Amer. Nat. 134, 239–53.Google Scholar
  50. Slagsvold, T., Sandvik, J., Rofstad, G., Lorentsen, O. and Husby, M. (1984) On the adaptive value of intraclutch ogg-size variation in birds.Auk 101, 685–97.Google Scholar
  51. Steyn, P. (1984) A Delight of Owls. Cape Town: D. Philip Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Trivers, R. L. (1974) Parent-offspring conflict.Amer. Zool. 14, 249–64.Google Scholar
  53. Wilson, R. T., Wilson, M. P. and Durkin, J. W. (1986) Breeding biology of the barn owl (Tyto alba) in central Mali.128, 81–90.Google Scholar
  54. Wynne-Edwards, V. C. (1962)Animal Dispersion in Relation to Social Behaviour Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  55. Zach, R. (1982) Hatching asynchrony, egg size, growth and fledging in tree swallows.Auk 99, 695–700.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas W. Mock
    • 1
    • 3
  • P. L. Schwagmeyer
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OklahomaNorman
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OklahomaNorman
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

Personalised recommendations