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Copulation and Mate Guarding in the Yellow-Billed Magpie Pica nuttalli and a Comparison with the Black-Billed Magpie P. pica

T. R. Birkhead, K. Clarkson, M. D. Reynolds and W. D. Koenig
Behaviour
Vol. 121, No. 1/2 (May, 1992), pp. 110-130
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4535022
Page Count: 21
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Copulation and Mate Guarding in the Yellow-Billed Magpie Pica nuttalli and a Comparison with the Black-Billed Magpie P. pica
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Abstract

Yellow-billed magpies breed in loose colonies. Extra-pair courtship is frequent, and a comparison (1) between two adjacent areas with different inter-nest distances, and (2) with solitary, territorial European black-billed magpies, indicates that either an aggregated distribution of nests, or a relatively loose territorial system in yellow-billed magpies increases opportunities for extra-pair behaviour. Male yellow-billed magpies guard their partner by closely following them from five days before the first egg is laid. Pair copulations were infrequent, occurring 3 or 4 times per clutch, and mainly over days -5 to -3. Territoriality, which is most pronounced during the female's fertile period, may enable the male to guard his partner while simultaneously foraging to provide her with food.

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