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Mate-sharing costs in polygynous Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus

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In this study bigamous female Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus received significantly less incubation relief from their males than monogamous females. On average, monogamous males spent 34.3% of their time incubating and bigamous males 29.9%. Bigamous males divided their effort between their nests, incubating on average 9.4% on primary nests and 20.5% on secondary nests. Bigamous females compensated for the lack of male relief. Primary females incubated for 71.8% of their time, secondary females for 64.2%, while monogamous females spent 52.7% of their time incubating. As a result, there was no significant difference in total nest attentiveness among nests of different status. Primary and secondary females received equivalent incubation relief from the male. Bigamous males increased their contribution to incubation significantly as the season progressed. A bigamous male's distribution of incubation relief between his females was unrelated to female body mass, or to the degree of asynchrony between primary and secondary females in arrival and laying. Incubation time was significantly, negatively, correlated with total nest attentiveness. Monogamous females spent most time, secondary females spent an intermediate time, and primary females spent the least time on maintenance behaviour (foraging, comfort behaviour, inactivity). No significant differences were found in hatching success among females of different mating status. However, the ratio of unhatched to hatched eggs (i.e. the eggs that remained in the nest at the time of hatching) differed significantly: secondary females hatched a smaller proportion of their eggs than monogamous and primary females.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-04-01

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