Biparental Care

Hormonal and Nonhormonal Control Mechanisms
  • Rae Silver


Many observers have commented on the changing and complex interactions that must occur between the mother and her young in the period from birth to weaning (Galef, 1977; Hinde & Spencer-Booth, 1968; Hofer, 1978; Lehrman, 1961; Rosenblatt, 1965). The complexity increases by an order of magnitude when two parents share in the care of the offspring. Here, the mates must be coordinated with each other as well as with the needs of the developing young and the demands of the environment. Biparental care occurs in certain mammalian orders (Kleiman & Malcolm, 1981), and in birds 90% of the species are monogamous (Lack, 1968) and biparental care patterns predominate. The relative responsibilities of each parent range from equal sharing for the care of the young to total involvement by one parent (Skutch, 1957). Bisexual incubation predominates (54% of families). Generally, the eggs of species showing biparental care are attended at virtually all times by one or the other parent (White & Kinney, 1974). The demands of biparental care and the systems of male-female coordination are well exemplified in an analysis of doves. Such an analysis can proceed along several dimensions.


Physiological Psychology Nest Site Parental Behavior Parental Care Androgen Level 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rae Silver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBarnard College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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