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Nestling provisioning in polygynous great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus): do males bring larger prey to compensate for fewer nest visits?

Sejberg, Douglas LU ; Bensch, Staffan LU and Hasselquist, Dennis LU (2000) In Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 47(4). p.213-219
Abstract
Most studies of social polygyny in birds have examined male provisioning on the basis of the number of feeding visits. This may be misleading if males compensate for infrequent visits by bringing larger prey at each visit. We investigated nestling provisioning in the socially polygynous great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, in south Central Sweden in 1996-1997. We collected data on rare of feeding visits, prey size and the amount of biomass delivered by males and females. Males had lower rates of feeding visits and provided smaller prey to nestlings in secondary than in monogamous and primary nests. Secondary females had higher rates of feeding visits and brought larger prey than monogamous and primary females. These results... (More)
Most studies of social polygyny in birds have examined male provisioning on the basis of the number of feeding visits. This may be misleading if males compensate for infrequent visits by bringing larger prey at each visit. We investigated nestling provisioning in the socially polygynous great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, in south Central Sweden in 1996-1997. We collected data on rare of feeding visits, prey size and the amount of biomass delivered by males and females. Males had lower rates of feeding visits and provided smaller prey to nestlings in secondary than in monogamous and primary nests. Secondary females had higher rates of feeding visits and brought larger prey than monogamous and primary females. These results confirm that secondary females face a potential cost of polygyny through a lower rate of male feeding, and that this cost was reinforced by the significantly lower male provisioning rate (biomass h(-1)) at secondary nests. Secondary females compensated for the lack of male assistance by increasing their rate of feeding and bringing larger prey. As a result, offspring in nests of secondary females received as much food as did those in nests of primary females. Prey load size increased with the parent's proportion of feeding visits, suggesting that parents use different feeding strategies depending on their amount of responsibility for nestling provisioning. We suggest that parents which take the main responsibility for nestling feeding have to forage further away from the nest, and based on optimal-foraging theory, they should then on average bring larger prey to their nest. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
volume
47
issue
4
pages
213 - 219
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:0034034513
ISSN
1432-0762
DOI
10.1007/s002650050658
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
11416d4c-09fd-4188-a737-f4069dc7428a (old id 145998)
date added to LUP
2007-06-26 12:11:17
date last changed
2017-07-30 03:30:28
@article{11416d4c-09fd-4188-a737-f4069dc7428a,
  abstract     = {Most studies of social polygyny in birds have examined male provisioning on the basis of the number of feeding visits. This may be misleading if males compensate for infrequent visits by bringing larger prey at each visit. We investigated nestling provisioning in the socially polygynous great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, in south Central Sweden in 1996-1997. We collected data on rare of feeding visits, prey size and the amount of biomass delivered by males and females. Males had lower rates of feeding visits and provided smaller prey to nestlings in secondary than in monogamous and primary nests. Secondary females had higher rates of feeding visits and brought larger prey than monogamous and primary females. These results confirm that secondary females face a potential cost of polygyny through a lower rate of male feeding, and that this cost was reinforced by the significantly lower male provisioning rate (biomass h(-1)) at secondary nests. Secondary females compensated for the lack of male assistance by increasing their rate of feeding and bringing larger prey. As a result, offspring in nests of secondary females received as much food as did those in nests of primary females. Prey load size increased with the parent's proportion of feeding visits, suggesting that parents use different feeding strategies depending on their amount of responsibility for nestling provisioning. We suggest that parents which take the main responsibility for nestling feeding have to forage further away from the nest, and based on optimal-foraging theory, they should then on average bring larger prey to their nest.},
  author       = {Sejberg, Douglas and Bensch, Staffan and Hasselquist, Dennis},
  issn         = {1432-0762},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {213--219},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
  title        = {Nestling provisioning in polygynous great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus): do males bring larger prey to compensate for fewer nest visits?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002650050658},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {2000},
}