Social and individual factors influence variation in offspring care in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie

Kyana N. Pike, Benjamin J. Ashton, Kate V. Morgan, Amanda R. Ridley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In cooperatively breeding species, the level of investment in young can vary substantially. Despite receiving considerable research attention, how and why investment in young varies with cooperatively breeding group members remains unclear. To investigate the causes of variation in care of young, we assessed patterns of both helper and parental behavior in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis). Observations of 19 helpers and 31 parents provisioning 33 broods raised in 11 different groups over two consecutive breeding seasons revealed substantial variation in offspring care behavior. Our results suggest that the level of investment in young by helpers is strongly influenced by group size, chick age, and individual helper traits (including foraging efficiency, age and sex). Helping behavior was facultative, and individuals from smaller groups were more likely to invest in helping behavior. Overall, the number of broods receiving help was lowest during the nestling phase and highest during the fledgling phase. Female helpers provided more care than both male and juvenile helpers. We found that mothers invest more time in offspring care than do fathers, however fathers increase their effort in the presence of helpers while mothers do not. Overall, helper care was additive to parental care and therefore helping behavior may be beneficial to the brood. Our research reveals that variation in offspring care in magpies is influenced by both social and individual traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume7
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

helping behavior
breeding
fathers
parental behavior
foraging efficiency
parental care
group size
nestling
breeding season
chicks
foraging
young
alloparental behavior
gender

Cite this

@article{2c9e9e3ccb9043ab8220bdb269574d70,
title = "Social and individual factors influence variation in offspring care in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie",
abstract = "In cooperatively breeding species, the level of investment in young can vary substantially. Despite receiving considerable research attention, how and why investment in young varies with cooperatively breeding group members remains unclear. To investigate the causes of variation in care of young, we assessed patterns of both helper and parental behavior in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis). Observations of 19 helpers and 31 parents provisioning 33 broods raised in 11 different groups over two consecutive breeding seasons revealed substantial variation in offspring care behavior. Our results suggest that the level of investment in young by helpers is strongly influenced by group size, chick age, and individual helper traits (including foraging efficiency, age and sex). Helping behavior was facultative, and individuals from smaller groups were more likely to invest in helping behavior. Overall, the number of broods receiving help was lowest during the nestling phase and highest during the fledgling phase. Female helpers provided more care than both male and juvenile helpers. We found that mothers invest more time in offspring care than do fathers, however fathers increase their effort in the presence of helpers while mothers do not. Overall, helper care was additive to parental care and therefore helping behavior may be beneficial to the brood. Our research reveals that variation in offspring care in magpies is influenced by both social and individual traits.",
keywords = "Contributions to care, cooperative breeding, Helping behavior, Individual variation, Social and individual traits, Western Australian magpie",
author = "Pike, {Kyana N.} and Ashton, {Benjamin J.} and Morgan, {Kate V.} and Ridley, {Amanda R.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.3389/fevo.2019.00092",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
journal = "Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution",
issn = "2296-701X",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",
number = "APR",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Social and individual factors influence variation in offspring care in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie

AU - Pike, Kyana N.

AU - Ashton, Benjamin J.

AU - Morgan, Kate V.

AU - Ridley, Amanda R.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - In cooperatively breeding species, the level of investment in young can vary substantially. Despite receiving considerable research attention, how and why investment in young varies with cooperatively breeding group members remains unclear. To investigate the causes of variation in care of young, we assessed patterns of both helper and parental behavior in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis). Observations of 19 helpers and 31 parents provisioning 33 broods raised in 11 different groups over two consecutive breeding seasons revealed substantial variation in offspring care behavior. Our results suggest that the level of investment in young by helpers is strongly influenced by group size, chick age, and individual helper traits (including foraging efficiency, age and sex). Helping behavior was facultative, and individuals from smaller groups were more likely to invest in helping behavior. Overall, the number of broods receiving help was lowest during the nestling phase and highest during the fledgling phase. Female helpers provided more care than both male and juvenile helpers. We found that mothers invest more time in offspring care than do fathers, however fathers increase their effort in the presence of helpers while mothers do not. Overall, helper care was additive to parental care and therefore helping behavior may be beneficial to the brood. Our research reveals that variation in offspring care in magpies is influenced by both social and individual traits.

AB - In cooperatively breeding species, the level of investment in young can vary substantially. Despite receiving considerable research attention, how and why investment in young varies with cooperatively breeding group members remains unclear. To investigate the causes of variation in care of young, we assessed patterns of both helper and parental behavior in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen dorsalis). Observations of 19 helpers and 31 parents provisioning 33 broods raised in 11 different groups over two consecutive breeding seasons revealed substantial variation in offspring care behavior. Our results suggest that the level of investment in young by helpers is strongly influenced by group size, chick age, and individual helper traits (including foraging efficiency, age and sex). Helping behavior was facultative, and individuals from smaller groups were more likely to invest in helping behavior. Overall, the number of broods receiving help was lowest during the nestling phase and highest during the fledgling phase. Female helpers provided more care than both male and juvenile helpers. We found that mothers invest more time in offspring care than do fathers, however fathers increase their effort in the presence of helpers while mothers do not. Overall, helper care was additive to parental care and therefore helping behavior may be beneficial to the brood. Our research reveals that variation in offspring care in magpies is influenced by both social and individual traits.

KW - Contributions to care

KW - cooperative breeding

KW - Helping behavior

KW - Individual variation

KW - Social and individual traits

KW - Western Australian magpie

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85065147034&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fevo.2019.00092

DO - 10.3389/fevo.2019.00092

M3 - Article

VL - 7

JO - Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

JF - Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

SN - 2296-701X

IS - APR

M1 - 92

ER -