Parental behaviour is unrelated to experimentally manipulated great tit brood sex ratio

C.M. Lessells, K.R. Oddie, A.C. Mateman

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    Parental investment may be biased with respect to parental sex or offspring sex or there may be an interaction between parental and offspring sex. We investigated whether any of these types of bias occurred in great tits, Parus major. By sexing chicks using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers and subsequently moving chicks between broods, we were able to manipulate broods early in the nestling period to give all-male, mixed-sex and all-female broods. Provisioning behaviour (total feeding rate, proportion of feeding visits by the male, prey size, visit duration and proportion of visits in which a faecal sac was removed) was measured for broods aged 8- 9 and 11-12 days. Nest defence behaviour was measured for 15- day-old broods. Parental weight, the occurrence of second broods and overwinter survival of the parents were also analysed, There were some differences in parental care between the parents: males made the majority of feeding visits and were more vigorous in nest defence. However, there was no evidence that parental care varied in relation to brood sex ratio. or that there was an interaction in parental tare between parental sex and brood sex ratio. (C) 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. [KEYWORDS: Red-winged blackbirds; parus-major; statistical power; zebra finches; offspring sex; selection; consequences; competition; allocation; dispersal]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-393
    JournalAnimal Behaviour
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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