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Philopatry, Nest-Site Tenacity, and Mate Fidelity of Semipalmated Plovers

Laura Flynn, Erica Nol and Yuri Zharikov
Journal of Avian Biology
Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 47-55
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3677242
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3677242
Page Count: 9
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Philopatry, Nest-Site Tenacity, and Mate Fidelity of Semipalmated Plovers
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Abstract

Philopatry, nest-site tenacity, and mate fidelity were examined in a population of Semipalmated Plovers Charadrius semipalmatus breeding near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada from 1992 to 1997. Natal philopatry was low (7 of 445 (1.57%) hatchlings returned to the study area to breed) and no difference in sex of recruits was detected. Adult males returned at a significantly higher rate (58.9%) than adult females (41.2%). For both sexes, but more strongly for females, success in the previous year resulted in higher return rates in the subsequent year. Of pairs that returned, 41.6% divorced. Females that divorced or changed mates through death or disappearance of a partner between breeding seasons were significantly less site tenacious than females that reunited and also less so than males of any pairing status. Females that experienced breeding failure and changed mates in the subsequent breeding season moved farther than successful females that changed mates. In only one of four years did reunited pairs nest earlier and have greater hatching success than novel pairs. After divorce new mates of females did not differ significantly in morphological or plumage characteristics from old mates, nor did they possess territories with greater visibility, or territories nearer to water. After divorce new mates of males were significantly smaller than old mates. Our return rates underestimate survivorship in females because both the probability of return and site tenacity of females are strongly influenced by their previous success.

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