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Males respond to female begging signals of need: A handicapping experiment in the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca

AuthorsCantarero, Alejandro CSIC ORCID ; López-Arrabé, Jimena CSIC ORCID; Palma, Antonio; Redondo, Alberto J.; Moreno Klemming, Juan CSIC ORCID
KeywordsFemale nutrition hypothesis
Female condition
Incubation feeding
Feather clipping
Parental provisioning
Nest attendance
Experimental handicapping
Incubation behaviour
Female begging
Begging posture
Issue Date11-Jul-2014
CitationAnimal Behaviour 94: 167-173 (2014)
AbstractThe 'female nutrition' hypothesis proposes that food provided by males during incubation is an important energy source for females in bird species in which females alone incubate. Females should be able to communicate their needs through begging signals to mates and males may compensate for the energetic limitations of females through their feeding visits, owing to their overlapping reproductive interests. To test whether female begging during incubation is an honest signal of energetic need and whether mates respond to it we experimentally handicapped female pied flycatchers at the beginning of incubation by clipping two primary flight feathers on each wing. Experimental manipulation led females to intensify begging displays arising from condition impairment and males accordingly increased their incubation feeding rates. Female begging intensity explained more than half of the variation in male incubation feeding rate, thereby showing that female nutrition is the main factor explaining male incubation feeding. Moreover, handicapped females consumed a higher proportion of male food deliveries during the first few days after hatching and weighed less at the end of the nestling period than control females. Handicapping had no influence on female incubation behaviour, hatching and breeding success, nestling and male condition or female nestling provisioning. The provisioning rates of males in the late nestling stage were higher in experimental nests. This is the first experimental study showing that males adjust incubation feeding rates to behavioural displays of need by their mates. The ability of females to modify their begging displays according to need may be an important adaptation that allows females to maintain a good energetic condition during incubation. © 2014 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.05.002
issn: 0003-3472
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos

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