Biparental care and offspring begging strategies: hungry nestling blue tits move towards the father

M. Dickens, I. Berridge, I.R. Hartley

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Despite the fact that in many bird species offspring are provisioned by two parents, few studies to date have examined the implications of biparental care for offspring solicitation behaviour. Male and female parents can differ in their potential value to individual offspring if they follow different allocation rules and/or have different provisioning rates. If such differences occur, offspring should use different rules when soliciting to the male and female parent. This study looked at how the begging behaviour of nestling blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, is influenced by their hunger, size and by the sex of the provisioning adult. Nestling hunger was manipulated across size ranks, using periods of hand feeding or food deprivation. While nestling hunger influenced all aspects of nestling begging behaviour, nestling size and the sex of the provisioning adult only affected the position of nestlings in the nest cup. When hungry, nestlings moved closer to the male parent and the largest nestlings in a brood primarily obtained the closest positions. This may be the result of offspring responding to a difference between the sexes in parental food allocation rules.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-174
    JournalAnimal Behaviour
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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