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Behavioural and energetic responses to body state in male and female barn swallows (Hirundo rustica)

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Abstract

Females and males often have different roles when attending young. The factors responsible for shifts in the balance of effort when both sexes provision their young are not clear. This study asked if sex-specific behaviour and provisioning rules in barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) were dependent on individual body-state or affected by the state of their provisioning partner. To assess this male and female barn swallows underwent overnight warming manipulations whilst provisioning 10-14 day old nestlings, a time when energetic demands are maximal. The overnight warming treatment reduced thermoregulatory costs and provided birds with extra energy reserves at dawn. Only one member of a pair was manipulated in this way, whilst their partners were left un-manipulated to assess their response to their partner's elevated body-state. The energetic and behavioural responses to these manipulations were followed over the subsequent 24-h. I found that warmed male and female barn swallows increased their energy expenditure and nest visitation rates to the same extent after manipulation, implying a trade-off in resource allocation, which was biased towards reproductive effort. There was no effect of gender. Males paired with manipulated females showed no energetic or behavioural adjustments, however, females paired with manipulated males tended to increase both energy expenditure and nest visitation. This study provides evidence that energy reserves constrain behaviour, and that male and female swallows normally follow the same state-dependent rules when provisioning young.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalZoological Science
Volume22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

    Research areas

  • life history evolution, body-state, energy expenditure, food provisioning, parental care, reproductive effort, MALE PARENTAL CARE, FLYCATCHERS FICEDULA-HYPOLEUCA, MARTINS DELICHON-URBICA, TIT PARUS-MAJOR, REPRODUCTIVE EFFORT, PIED FLYCATCHERS, SEXUAL CONFLICT, PATERNAL CARE, ZEBRA FINCHES, TREE SWALLOWS

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