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Division of labour in parental care in the Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus

Abstract

Detailed studies of parental care of woodpeckers are restricted to a handful of species in the northern hemisphere. The Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus is the largest Neotropical picid and the southernmost distributed woodpecker worldwide. We investigated sex-specific parental care behaviour of Magellanic Woodpeckers at 11 nests by dawn to dusk monitoring, once a week throughout the nesting season. Behavioural observations were complemented with frequent inspections of all nests and video recordings at 3 nests. One or two hatchlings were produced; when two, the second-born was soon left to die from starvation, so a single young was reared at any nest. Observed parental care included incubation, brooding, nest sanitation and feeding of nestlings. Parental care was divided almost equally between partners for most activities except nest sanitation and night care, where males dominated. Contributions of the two sexes to parental care changed during progress of the breeding period. Feeding rates were similar between parents, but males delivered larger prey. Parental care in the Magellanic Woodpecker seems to be in accordance with the breeding behaviour exhibited by the majority of woodpecker species, nevertheless some differences may derive from particularities of the Austral temperate forest (i.e. food availability) and features of the species like one nestling brood size along with behavioural constraints on juvenile dispersal.

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Acknowledgments

Two anonymous reviewers made very useful suggestions that improved this manuscript. We are most grateful to Juan Karlanian, Adrián Ortiz, Claudio Bacchi, Soledad Díaz, Ferrán Juárez Pluvins, Federico Ginanni and Gala Ortiz, for providing valuable help in field activities, and to Susana Seijas for carrying out the necropsy at the laboratory of the Comehue University. We also thank Natalie Dudinszky for her helpful comments on this manuscript. The statistical analyses were performed with the collaboration of Gilda Garibotti and Lucas Garibaldi. We thank IDEA WILD (Fort Collins, CO, USA), Birders’ Exchange (Colorado Springs, CO, USA) and J. Masello for their donations of equipment fundamental to this study. This research was mainly supported by CANON USA Inc. through its National Parks Science Scholars Program for the Americas, which supported Valeria Ojeda’ s doctoral research. The present study complies with the current laws of the Argentine Republic.

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Correspondence to María Laura Chazarreta.

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Communicated by F. Bairlein.

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Chazarreta, M.L., Ojeda, V.S. & Trejo, A. Division of labour in parental care in the Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus . J Ornithol 152, 231–242 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-010-0570-4

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Keywords

  • Parental behaviour
  • Neotropical picids
  • Austral temperate forest
  • Argentine Patagonia