The trade-off between molt andparental care: a sexual conflict in the blue tit?

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The trade-off between molt andparental care: a sexual conflict in the blue tit? / Svensson, Erik; Nilsen, Jan-Åke.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1997, p. 92-98.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The trade-off between molt andparental care: a sexual conflict in the blue tit?

AU - Svensson, Erik

AU - Nilsen, Jan-Åke

PY - 1997

Y1 - 1997

N2 - Breeding activities and molt are generally thought to be mutually exclusive in birds since both are energetically costly and are normally separated in time. However, sometimes molt overlaps with breeding to some degree. A trade-off between adult somatic maintenance functions (feather renewal) and parental care is then to be expected. The consequences of this are largely unknown, and there are few studies that have shown any fitness costs of molt-breeding overlap. We investigated the consequences of molt-breeding overlap by removing first clutches of blue tit Parus caeruleus pairs, thereby inducing late repeat clutches. Among the delayed pairs, a high proportion of males and some females started their molt already during incubation or nestling feeding. Molting males fed their nestling to a lesser extent than non-molting ones, and nestling mortality increased as a direct result of the early timing of male molt. Furthermore, the ability to raise an experimentally enlarged brood was negatively coupled to the molt stage of the male. Our data thus protide evidence that molt-breeding overlap leads to fitness costs, and we discuss the results within the context of sexual conflict and the implications for optimization of avian reproductive decisions.

AB - Breeding activities and molt are generally thought to be mutually exclusive in birds since both are energetically costly and are normally separated in time. However, sometimes molt overlaps with breeding to some degree. A trade-off between adult somatic maintenance functions (feather renewal) and parental care is then to be expected. The consequences of this are largely unknown, and there are few studies that have shown any fitness costs of molt-breeding overlap. We investigated the consequences of molt-breeding overlap by removing first clutches of blue tit Parus caeruleus pairs, thereby inducing late repeat clutches. Among the delayed pairs, a high proportion of males and some females started their molt already during incubation or nestling feeding. Molting males fed their nestling to a lesser extent than non-molting ones, and nestling mortality increased as a direct result of the early timing of male molt. Furthermore, the ability to raise an experimentally enlarged brood was negatively coupled to the molt stage of the male. Our data thus protide evidence that molt-breeding overlap leads to fitness costs, and we discuss the results within the context of sexual conflict and the implications for optimization of avian reproductive decisions.

KW - brood size

KW - feeding frequency life-history trade-offs

KW - nestling mortality

KW - molt

KW - Parus caeruleus

KW - Paridae

KW - aves (birds)

KW - blue tit

KW - sexual conflict

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 92

EP - 98

JO - Behavioral Ecology

T2 - Behavioral Ecology

JF - Behavioral Ecology

SN - 1045-2249

IS - 1

ER -