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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 159–167 | Cite as

Parental care and external sexual characters in the Warbling Doradito (Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris)

  • D. Augusto CardoniEmail author
  • Matías G. Pretelli
  • Juan P. Isacch
  • Enrique Madrid
  • Alejandro V. Baladrón
  • Nicolás M. Chiaradia
Original Article

Abstract

Biparental care is the dominant (81 %) form of parental care in birds. The degree of sexual selection and the resulting mating system and parental care type have been determined, in many cases, by inference from external characters of sexual dimorphism. The lack of information and the biological attributes of the tyrant flycatchers (e.g., low sexual dimorphism) make it difficult to determinate the parental care roles in most species. Tyrant flycatchers comprise a diverse bird family, but information on the reproductive behavior of many Tyrannid species is lacking. Our aim was to describe external sexual characters (morphology and coloration) and determine the parental care behavior at the nest in the Warbling Doradito (Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris), especially considering the potential role of sexual differences in relation to parental roles at nest. We studied the parental care behavior during two breeding seasons. Parents were captured to take morphological measurements and a blood sample for molecular sex determination. We found that parental care in the Warbling Doradito was biparental biased toward females, where the incubation was performed exclusively by females and the 74 % of activities of nestling brooding and feeding was performed by females. We also found sexual differences, slight in size and plumage, but more conspicuous in bill color. Despite the relatively slight sexual dichromatism of the Warbling Doradito, the parental care behavior in the nest was biased towards females, and the assistance of males to nestlings was highly variable and was not correlated with either clutch size or increasing nestling mass. Therefore, the evidence presented here suggest that Pseudocolopteryx genus may have an unusual social system, otherwise uncommon in tyrannids.

Keywords

Tyrannidae Morphology Nestling feeding Pampas Grasslands Dichromatism Argentina 

Zusammenfassung

Brutpflege und äußere Geschlechtsmerkmale beim Braunrücken-Sumpftyrann ( Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris ) Bei Vögeln ist die Brutpflege durch beide Elternteile die vorherrschende (81 %) Form der Brutpflege. Die Ausprägung der sexuellen Selektion und das daraus resultierende System von Balz und Brutpflege wurde sehr häufig nur durch das Schließen von äußeren Merkmalen auf einen Geschlechtsdimorphismus bestimmt. Zu wenig Informationen sowie die biologischen Eigenheiten wie z.B. ein schwach ausgeprägter Geschlechtsdimorphismus bei den Schreivögeln (Tyrranides), machen es bei den meisten Arten schwierig, die tatsächliche Rolle der beiden Elternteile in der Brutpflege festzustellen. Die Schreivögel stellen eine große, recht uneinheitliche Familie dar, aber über das Fortpflanzungsverhalten vieler ihrer Arten liegt nur wenig Information vor. Ziel dieser Studie war es, für den Braunrücken-Sumpftyrann (Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris) äußere Geschlechtsmerkmale (Morphologie, Färbung) zu beschreiben und das Brutpflegeverhalten am Nest zu bestimmen. Dabei wurde besonderes Augenmerk auf mögliche Geschlechtsunterschiede in der Brutpflege durch die beiden Eltern am Nest gelegt. Das Brutpflegevehalten wurde über zwei Brutzeiten hinweg beobachtet und die Elterntiere gefangen, um ihre Körpermaße zu bestimmen und Blutproben für eine molekulare Geschlechtsbestimmung zu entnehmen. Wir fanden heraus, dass beim Braunrücken-Sumpftyrann die Brutpflege eher von den Weibchen übernommen wurde: das Brüten selbst lag ausschließlich bei den Weibchen, und 74 % aller Aktivitäten ums Brüten und Füttern herum wurden ebenfalls von den Weibchen durchgeführt. Ferner fanden wir äußere Geschlechtsunterschiede: für Größe und Gefieder waren sie eher kleiner, deutlich auffälliger jedoch in der Schnabelfärbung. Trotz der relativ kleinen Geschlechtsunterschiede war das Brutpflegeverhalten am Nest bei den Weibchen stärker ausgeprägt; die Unterstützung durch die Männchen war sehr unterschiedlich und korrelierte nicht mit der Gelegegröße. Diese Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass das soziale System der Gattung Pseudocolopteryx möglicherweise anders und unüblich für die übrigen Tyranni ist.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper benefitted from the comments of two anonymous reviewers. We appreciate the improvements in English usage made by Diego E. Metzadour. Financial support was provided by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (EXA 545/11), Agencia de Promoción Científica y Técnica (PICT 12-461) and Neotropical Grassland Conservancy.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio Vertebrados, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnica and Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina

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