The relationship between maternal ornamentation and feeding rate is explained by intrinsic nestling quality

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In altricial birds, parental feeding is essential, and its amount may depend on the quality of both parents. A relationship between parental quality and feeding rate is generally attributed to an active adjustment by parents in order to retain good quality mates or ensure high fitness through raising high-quality offspring. However, the behaviour and need of young may also change with parental quality, and this may affect parental behaviour. A further problem is that most studies have investigated post-hatching parental investment in relation to the secondary sexual signals of males, but not females. In a cross-fostering experiment, we examined the feeding rates of rearing parents in relation to the size and ornamentation of both original and rearing parents in collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis). Using this setup, we could examine whether the observed feeding patterns were the results of the decision of the parents based on their own and their partner's traits or the constraints imposed by the behaviour or need of offspring. When correcting for clutch size and year, we found that feeding rate of both foster parents correlated with the wing patch size of the original female. This implies that original maternal quality had an offspring-mediated indirect effect on investment of foster parents, that is intrinsic nestling quality may constrain parental feeding decisions. This explanation should not be overlooked in future studies on preferential parental investment, and our results also point out that maternal ornaments deserve more attention in such studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fingerprint

foster care
ornamentation
nestling
rearing
parental behavior
clutch size
parental investment
hatching
birds
patch size
Ficedula albicollis
nestlings
rate
fitness
bird

Keywords

  • Attractiveness
  • Collared flycatcher
  • Female quality
  • Ficedula albicollis
  • Maternal ornamentation
  • Parental investment
  • Parental quality
  • Plumage traits
  • Provisioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

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title = "The relationship between maternal ornamentation and feeding rate is explained by intrinsic nestling quality",
abstract = "In altricial birds, parental feeding is essential, and its amount may depend on the quality of both parents. A relationship between parental quality and feeding rate is generally attributed to an active adjustment by parents in order to retain good quality mates or ensure high fitness through raising high-quality offspring. However, the behaviour and need of young may also change with parental quality, and this may affect parental behaviour. A further problem is that most studies have investigated post-hatching parental investment in relation to the secondary sexual signals of males, but not females. In a cross-fostering experiment, we examined the feeding rates of rearing parents in relation to the size and ornamentation of both original and rearing parents in collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis). Using this setup, we could examine whether the observed feeding patterns were the results of the decision of the parents based on their own and their partner's traits or the constraints imposed by the behaviour or need of offspring. When correcting for clutch size and year, we found that feeding rate of both foster parents correlated with the wing patch size of the original female. This implies that original maternal quality had an offspring-mediated indirect effect on investment of foster parents, that is intrinsic nestling quality may constrain parental feeding decisions. This explanation should not be overlooked in future studies on preferential parental investment, and our results also point out that maternal ornaments deserve more attention in such studies.",
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AU - Hegyi, G.

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