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Journal Article

The Influence of Mate Retention and Divorce Upon Reproductive Success in Short-Tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris

J. S. Bradley, R. D. Wooller, I. J. Skira and D. L. Serventy
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 1990), pp. 487-496
DOI: 10.2307/4876
https://www.jstor.org/stable/4876
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Influence of Mate Retention and Divorce Upon Reproductive Success in Short-Tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris
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Abstract

(1) Half of all male and female short-tailed shearwaters had only one breeding partner during their lives; the maximum was seven mates. (2) Pair bonds lasted longer later in life. Half of all first pair-bonds, but only one-third of all third pair-bonds, lasted 1 year. (3) The percentage of pairs laying eggs and the percentage of those eggs which resulted in free-living young rose markedly with the increasing duration of a pair-bond, except in later pair-bonds. (4) Breeding success on the first attempt with a new partner was greater in later pair-bonds. Thus, increasing total breeding experience and increasing familiarity with a particular partner are both related to increasing reproductive performance. (5) Birds whose pair-bonds lasted more than 3 years had a greater reproductive success than those in shorter pair-bonds, not only due to increasing breeding experience and mate familiarity, but also initially. This differential persisted throughout the first two pair-bonds, but not thereafter. (6) In both sexes, 74% retained their mate of the previous year, 10% took a new mate after their previous mate died and 16% divorced their living mate. Divorce was more likely if a pair failed to produce young in the preceding season; impending divorcees were also absent during a pair-bond more often than birds retaining their mates.