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Female begging calls reflect nutritional need of nestlings in the hen harrier Circus cyaneus

Redpath, Steve and Thompson, Alex and Amar, Arjun (2017). Female begging calls reflect nutritional need of nestlings in the hen harrier Circus cyaneus. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 17 , 1-8
[Research article]

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Background: Most birds exhibit bi-parental care with both sexes providing food for their young. Nestling signal food needs through begging. However, for some species, males rarely visit the nest, so have limited opportunity for gaining information directly from the chicks. Instead, females beg when males deliver food. We tested whether this calling signalled nutritional need and specifically the needs of the female (Breeder Need hypothesis) or that of their chicks (Offspring Need hypothesis).
Results: We observed begging and provisioning rates at 42 nests of hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) in Scotland, explored the factors associated with variation in begging rate and the relationship between begging and provisioning. We also tested the impact of food on begging and provisioning through a feeding experiment. Female begging rate increased up to a chick age of 3 weeks and then tailed off. In addition, begging increased when broods were large.
Conclusions: Our data provided support for the Offspring Need hypothesis. At nests where adlib food was provided females reduced their begging rate. These patterns suggested that female begging was an honest signal of need. However, begging continued even with adlib food and was only weakly associated with greater provisioning by males, suggesting that these calls may also play an additional role, possibly reflecting sexual or parent-offspring conflict.

Authors/Creators:Redpath, Steve and Thompson, Alex and Amar, Arjun
Title:Female begging calls reflect nutritional need of nestlings in the hen harrier Circus cyaneus
Series Name/Journal:BMC Evolutionary Biology
Year of publishing :2017
Page range:1-8
Number of Pages:8
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
Keywords:Begging behaviour, Nestlings, Provisioning behaviour, Breeder need, Offspring need, Raptors, Hen harrier, Sexual conflict
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000403941700001
ID Code:16895
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:05 May 2020 08:54
Metadata Last Modified:05 May 2020 08:54

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