Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

It Takes A Village: Female Ducks Negotiate Joint Rearing Of Ducklings

Date:
January 16, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Female eider ducks are well known to team up and share the work of rearing ducklings, but it now appears that they also negotiate not only how much effort each puts into the partnership, but also profit-sharing. An international group of scientists used a long-running study of the eider population in a Finnish archipelago to test predictions about how each hen seeks to maximize her benefits from the partnership without making it so unattractive that other hens withdraw their participation.

Waterfowl are "careful, sophisticated bargainers," negotiating not only how much effort each puts into communal rearing of ducklings, but also profit-sharing, says a new study from the American Naturalist.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Nils Sundberg

Female eider ducks are well known to team up and share the work of rearing ducklings, but it now appears that they also negotiate not only how much effort each puts into the partnership, but also profit-sharing. An international group of scientists used a long-running study of the eider population in a Finnish archipelago to test predictions about how each hen seeks to maximize her benefits from the partnership without making it so unattractive that other hens withdraw their participation.

Related Articles


As hens arrive at the rearing-area with their ducklings, a period of intense socializing ensues. The hens then sort themselves into cliques -- pairs, trios, or quartets -- with each hen in a group assuming a distinct role.

"Waterfowl have a reputation as being none-too-bright, but we think they are careful, sophisticated bargainers," says team leader Markus Φst (University of Helsinki). "The socializing during the period prior to group formation is devoted to the searching for and negotiating with a suitable partner."

As a group, each hen's ducklings are kept warm, led to food, and fiercely defended against predatory gulls -- all tasks for which central positions in the brood are the best and safest. Though the ducklings appear identical to human observers, hens can clearly recognize them and carefully manage their ducklings' locations in the joint brood, apparently according to an agreement worked out with the other hens.

Behavioral ecologists have long been interested in so-called 'co-operative breeders,' but ducks have never before been considered in this category. Appearing in the January issue of The American Naturalist, this study expands the range of animal groups considered co-operative breeders and also suggests that the behavioral strategies involved may be more complex than previously thought.

Founded in 1867, The American Naturalist is one of the world's most renowned, peer-reviewed publications in ecology, evolution, and population and integrative biology research. AN emphasizes sophisticated methodologies and innovative theoretical syntheses--all in an effort to advance the knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles.

Reference: Φst, Markus, Colin W. Clark, Mikael Kilpi, and Ron Ydenberg, "Parental effort and reproductive skew in coalitions of brood-rearing female common eiders." The American Naturalist: January 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "It Takes A Village: Female Ducks Negotiate Joint Rearing Of Ducklings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070110180945.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, January 16). It Takes A Village: Female Ducks Negotiate Joint Rearing Of Ducklings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070110180945.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "It Takes A Village: Female Ducks Negotiate Joint Rearing Of Ducklings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070110180945.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) — A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) — Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins