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Female Nutritional State Affects the Rate of Male Incubation Feeding in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

H. G. Smith, H. Källander, J. Hultman and B. Sanzén
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Vol. 24, No. 6 (1989), pp. 417-420
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4600295
Page Count: 4
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Female Nutritional State Affects the Rate of Male Incubation Feeding in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
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Abstract

Male pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca regularly feed their mates during incubation. By experimentally supplying some females with extra food we studied how the female's nutritional state affected her incubation schedule and the rate at which her mate fed her. Females that received extra food spent more time on the nest and shorter periods away from it, compared with control females. This suggests that nest attentiveness is governed by the amount of energy available to the female. When females received extra food, males decreased their rate of incubation feeding. They also did so in response to increasing ambient temperatures, whereas incubation schedules were unaffected. We, therefore, conclude that our results support the "female nutrition hypothesis", i.e., that the food provided by the male constitutes a significant nutritional contribution to the incubating female.

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