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Lack of nest site tenacity and mate fidelity in the starling


, : Lack of nest site tenacity and mate fidelity in the starling. Bird Study 25(3): 189-191

The proportion of male/female [Sturnus vulgaris] catches on the nest during daylight was used as an index of the relative times devoted to incubation by each sex, assuming that there were no sex differences in wariness. In the early brood, males incubated for 15.4% of the time (39 catches) while in the late brood males incubated for 29.2% of the time (48 catches) (.chi.2 = 1.06, 0.5 < P < 0.1, NS [not significant]). Males have a less developed incubation patch and take a smaller share of the feeding of young than females, and their investment in each breeding attempt occurs early. Their low contribution after egg laying in the early clutch period allows males time to prepare for a late clutch or, if females are available, to pair with a 2nd female while still assisting with the rearing of an early brood, as in the example of successive polygyny reported above. The advantage to the male (in terms of maximizing reproductive output) of concentrating his parental investment early during each breeding attempt could be an attempt to increase chances of successfully rearing a 2nd clutch that year. Since the males in this study that retained their mates were those that were most successful in the early brood, the success of this brood may determine whether a male will attempt to retain a mate or change mates and/or nest sites. How males assess the success of their early brood is not known, but it could involve the amount of effort they have to devote to feeding the chicks, i.e., the extent of post-coital investment. Further clarification of this behavior is required.

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Other references

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