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Patterns of Breeding Behaviour in the Domestic Pigeon

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Domestic pigeons Columba livia cannot distinguish between their own and alien eggs. Although the birds can revert from brooding to incubation, an early end of either state results in advancement of the next clutch. Interruption of the pair bond during incubation leads to reproductive failure. Synthesis and secretion of pigeon milk require an incubation period of more than eight days. During incubating and brooding, the investment of time by the female far exceeds that of the male; but during nest site selection and nest building the investment of the male is greater. From 17:30 and until 09:30 the next day, the female incubates the eggs through the entire night hours; the male, however, takes over from 09:30 to 13:30 and again from 15:30 to 17:30. Such complementary behaviour in pigeons appears to be a safeguard against small clutch size and nidicolous young.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1990-12-01

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