Advertisement

Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 148, Supplement 2, pp 203–210 | Cite as

Social structure and helping behaviour of the Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis

  • Kazuhiro EguchiEmail author
  • Noriyuki Yamaguchi
  • Keisuke Ueda
  • Hisashi Nagata
  • Masaoki Takagi
  • Richard Noske
Original Article

Abstract

A 4-year study of cooperative breeding in the Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis was conducted in the monsoon-tropics of northern Australia. Most groups comprised a single socially monogamous pair with up to seven helpers. We found no floaters. The sex ratio was almost unity for each year. Helpers included philopatric offspring, immigrating juveniles and immigrating sexually mature birds. Adults of both sexes moved frequently between groups. Pairs without helpers were unable to raise young to fledging and often divorced, suggesting that cooperative breeding was obligatory in this population. However, for groups with helpers, the group size effect was weak; there was no significant correlation between the number of fledglings and number of helpers. Breeding females exclusively contributed to incubation. Breeders contributed more to provisioning of nestlings than non-breeders. Although helpers did not enhance the total provisioning rate to nestlings, small groups should recruit helpers to maintain the group and enhance reproductive success.

Keywords

Cooperative breeding Grey-crowned babbler Helper Helping Reproductive success 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to Mr. Richard Luxton for unrestricted access to his property, Coomalie Farm. We thank K. M. Kawano, O. Mikami, Y. Takaki, H. E. Amano, M. Kinoshita, Y. Hayashi, T. Masuda, Y. Katsuno, M. Yawata, S. Tomikawa and D. Aoyama for field assistance, and D. Saito and K. M. Kawano for DNA laboratory work. We thank two anonymous reviewers for commenting on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This study was partly financially supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science to KE (Nos. 14405007 and 17255003). This study was conducted under permits from the Charles Darwin University Animal Ethics Committee, the Park and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme.

References

  1. Arnold KE, Owens IPE (1998) Cooperative breeding in birds: a comparative test of the life history hypothesis. Proc R Soc Lond B 265:739–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold KE, Owens IPE (1999) Cooperative breeding in birds: the role of ecology. Behav Ecol 10:465–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boland CRJ, Heinsohn RG, Cockburn A (1997) Deception by helpers in cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs and its experimental manipulation. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 41:251–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown JL, Dow DD, Brown ER, Brown SD (1978) Effects of helpers on feeding of nestlings in the Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 13:115–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown JL, Brown ER, Brown SD, Dow DD (1982) Helpers: effects of experimental removal on reproductive success. Science 215:421–422PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown JL, Dow DD, Brown ER, Brown SD (1983) Socio-ecology of the Grey-crowned Babbler: population structure, unit size and vegetation correlates. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 4:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cockburn A (1998) Evolution of helping behavior in cooperatively breeding birds. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 29:141–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cockburn A (2004) Mating systems and sexual conflict. In: Koenig W, Dickinson J (eds) Ecology and evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 81–101Google Scholar
  9. Counsilman JJ (1979) Note on the breeding biology of the grey-crowned babbler. Bird Behav 1:114–124Google Scholar
  10. Dow DD (1980) Communally breeding Australian birds with an analysis of distributional and environmental factors. Emu 80:121–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dow DD, King BR (1984) Communal building of brood and roost nests by the Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis. Emu 84:193–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Du Plessis MA, Siegfried WR, Armstrong AJ (1995) Ecological and life-history correlates of cooperative breeding in South African birds. Oecologia 102:180–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunn PO, Cockburn A, Mulder RA (1995) Fairy-wren helpers often care for young to which they are unrelated. Proc R Soc Lond B 259:339–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edwards SV, Naeem S (1993) The phylogenetic component of cooperative breeding in perching birds. Am Nat 141:754–789CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellegren H (1996) First gene on the avian W chromosome (CHD) provides a tag for universal sexing of non-ratite birds. Proc R Soc Lond B 263:1635–1641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Emlen ST (1997) Predicting family dynamics in social vertebrates. In: Krebs JR, Davies NB (eds) Behavioral ecology: an evolutionary approach. 4th edn. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 228–253Google Scholar
  17. Ford HA, Bell H, Nias R, Noske R (1988) The relationship between ecology and the incidence of cooperative breeding in Australian birds. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 22:239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Higgins PJ, Peter JM (2002) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds. vol 6 Pardalotes to shrike-thrushes. Oxford University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  19. King BR (1980) Social organization and behavior of the Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis. Emu 80:59–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Koenig W, Dickinson J (2004) Ecology and evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Komdeur J (1994) Experimental evidence for helping and hindering by previous offspring in the cooperative breeding Seychelles warbler. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 34:175–186Google Scholar
  22. Komdeur J (1996) Influence of helping and breeding experience on reproductive performance in the Seychelles warbler: a translocation experiment. Behav Ecol 7:326–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Legge S (2004) Kookaburra. King of the bush. CSIRO Publ, CollingwoodGoogle Scholar
  24. Ligon JD (1999) The evolution of avian breeding systems. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Ligon JD, Burt DB (2004) Evolutionary origins. In: Koenig W, Dickinson J (eds) Ecology and evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 5–34Google Scholar
  26. Ligon JD, Ligon SH (1990) Green woodhoopoes: life history traits and sociality. In: Stacey PB, Koenig WD (eds) Cooperative breeding in birds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 31–66Google Scholar
  27. Richardson DS, Jury FL, Blaakmeer K, Komdeur J, Burke T (2001) Parentage assignment and extra-group paternity in a cooperative breeder: the Seychelles Warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis). Mol Ecol 10:2263–2273PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Richardson DS, Burke T, Komdeur J (2002) Direct benefits and the evolution of female-biased cooperative breeding in Seychelles warblers. Evolution 56:2313–2321PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Stacey PB, Ligon JD (1991) The benefit-of-the-philopatry hypothesis for the evolution of cooperative breeding: variation in territory quality and group size effects. Am Nat 137:831–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuhiro Eguchi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Noriyuki Yamaguchi
    • 2
  • Keisuke Ueda
    • 3
  • Hisashi Nagata
    • 4
  • Masaoki Takagi
    • 5
  • Richard Noske
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityHodogaya, KanagawaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of ScienceRikkyo UniversityToshima, TokyoJapan
  4. 4.Laboratory of Wildlife ConservationNational Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  5. 5.Department of BiologyOsaka City UniversitySumiyoshi, OsakaJapan
  6. 6.School of Science and Primary IndustriesCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia

Personalised recommendations