Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Effects of maternal quality and mating status on female reproductive success in the polygynous spotless starling

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2002
Authors:Moreno, J, Veiga, J, Romasanta, M, S
Journal:Animal Behaviour
Date Published:2002
ISBN Number:0003-3472
Keywords:Sturnidae, Sturnus, Sturnus unicolor, Sturnus vulgaris
Abstract:Female mating status may affect reproductive success in avian polygynous mating systems through a combination of differences in female parental quality and status-dependent male assistance in parental care. Traditionally the literature has emphasized male assistance, neglecting evidence for consistency in female parental quality independent of mating status or repeatability in status. We studied the effects of male assistance on breeding success and its association with female mating status in a population of the polygynous spotless starling, Sturnus unicolor, during 3 years. Nestling provisioning by males improved the fledging success of late (mostly second) but not early (mostly first) broods. Reproductive success of females was affected mainly by female maternal quality: (1) primary and secondary females did not differ in output for early broods and in seasonal output despite a greater male assistance at primary nests; (2) monogamous females were more successful despite receiving no more help than other females; and (3) primary and secondary females had different clutch sizes before male assistance in parental care could operate. Female mating status was not significantly repeatable within seasons or between years. Females who changed status between years were as successful when rearing broods as secondary females as they were as primary or monogamous females. Breeding success (proportion of eggs resulting in fledglings) and clutch size were significantly repeatable between years for late but not for early clutches. Performance showed no strong association with female age or condition. Female breeding success seems to be weakly affected by male assistance in this sedentary, colonial species, and more dependent on inherent differences between females. Copyright 2002 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Short Title:Animal Behaviour
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