Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better looking birds have more help at home with their chicks

Date:
June 25, 2012
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
In choosing a mate both males and females rely on visual cues to determine which potential partner will supply the best genes, best nesting site, best territory, and best parenting skills. New research shows that male blue tits’ (Cyanistes caeruleus) parental behavior is determined by female ornamentation (ultraviolet coloration of the crown), as predicted by the differential allocation hypothesis (DAH).

In choosing a mate both males and females rely on visual cues to determine which potential partner will supply the best genes, best nesting site, best territory, and best parenting skills.
Credit: Katharina Mahr

In choosing a mate both males and females rely on visual cues to determine which potential partner will supply the best genes, best nesting site, best territory, and best parenting skills. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology shows that male blue tits' (Cyanistes caeruleus) parental behavior is determined by female ornamentation (ultraviolet coloration of the crown), as predicted by the differential allocation hypothesis (DAH).

DAH makes the assumption that aesthetic traits indicate quality and arises from the needs of a parent's current need to ensure current reproductive success and the reproductive success of their offspring. Ornamentation and its maintenance is a cost which reduces energy available for reproduction, but without the ornamentation an individual may not be able to secure a mate. Ornamentation also plays a role in competition between males and between females, as well as signaling potential reproductive success.

But reproductive success does not only depend on the best genes and the best nest, it also depends on parenting skills. Researchers from Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, supported by the "Sparkling-Science" Program, investigated the effect of female ornamentation on the chick-rearing behavior of their mates. Both males and female blue tits have feathers on the top of their heads which reflect UV light. After their chicks had hatched, female blue tits were captured and their crowns smeared with either duck preen gland oil containing UV-blocking chemicals or the oil alone.

Although the UV-blocking chemicals did not alter the behavior of the females, their mates made fewer hunting trips to feed their brood. However the males made the same effort to protect their nest and defend their chicks as males with oil-only treated females.

Dr Matteo Griggio, co-author of this study, commented, "This is the first study to show that male blue tit behavior depends on female ornamentation. Even though our experiment was minimally invasive to avoid partners not being able to recognize each other, the behavior of male blue tits in this study matched the DAH. DAH also predicts that less attractive females should increase their parental investment but we found no compensatory female behavior."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katharina Mahr, Matteo Griggio, Michela Granatiero and Herbert Hoi. Female attractiveness affects paternal investment: experimental evidence for male differential allocation in blue tits. Frontiers in Zoology, 2012 [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Better looking birds have more help at home with their chicks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625064756.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2012, June 25). Better looking birds have more help at home with their chicks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625064756.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Better looking birds have more help at home with their chicks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625064756.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) A great white shark is spotted off the shore at Duxbury beach in Massachusetts forcing beach goers out of the water. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) A young bull elk wandered inside the office building of a company in Dresden, Germany on Monday. The elk became trapped between a wall and glass windows while rescue workers tried to rescue him safely. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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