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Do shiny cowbird females adjust egg pecking behavior according to the level of competition their chicks face in host nests?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22119844     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Interspecific brood parasites, like the shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), lay eggs in nests of other species. Shiny cowbird females peck and puncture eggs when they parasitize host nests. This behavior increases the survival of cowbird chicks when they have to compete for food with larger nestmates. However, cowbird chicks may benefit from smaller nestmates as they increase food provisioning by parents and the cowbird chicks secure most extra provisioning. We investigated whether egg-pecking behavior by female shiny cowbirds might be adjusted to the competition that their chicks face in host nests. We found that more host eggs are destroyed per cowbird egg laid in a larger-bodied host (chalk-browed mockingbird, Mimus saturninus, 70-75g) than a smaller-bodied host (house wrens, Troglodytes aedon, 12-13g). We also tested egg-pecking preferences in choice experiments with female cowbirds in captivity and found cowbirds presented with eggs in artificial nests pecked first and more frequently, and punctured more frequently the larger egg when this was a host egg, but not when this was a cowbird egg. Our results are partially consistent with the hypothesis that shiny cowbird females adaptively adjust their egg pecking behavior according to the competition that their chicks face in host nests.
Diego T Tuero; Vanina D Fiorini; Juan C Reboreda
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-11-23
Journal Detail:
Title:  Behavioural processes     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1872-8308     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-11-28     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703854     Medline TA:  Behav Processes     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Pabellón II Ciudad Universitaria, C1428EGA Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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