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Brood parasitism, provisioning rates and breeding phenology of male and female magpie hosts

Citation

Precioso, Marta et al. (2020), Brood parasitism, provisioning rates and breeding phenology of male and female magpie hosts, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8931zcrnw

Abstract

Parental care is a costly behaviour that raises the prospects of offspring survival. In species with biparental care these costs are shared by both parents, although there may be a conflict regarding the relative investment of each sex. Avian brood parasites leave all the costs of rearing offspring to their hosts. The magnitude of these costs and their consequences on the relative role of both sexes in parental care and future reproduction remain mostly unknown. Here, we investigate whether provisioning rate of nestlings by magpie hosts (Pica pica) differs between broods parasitized by the great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) and non-parasitized broods, and whether the relative contribution of each sex to provisioning is affected by parasitism. Furthermore, we explore the effect of parasitism on magpie’s future reproduction. We found that provisioning rate was similar in parasitized and non-parasitized broods, and that the relative contribution of males and females was also similar, irrespectively of the parasitism status. However, rearing parasitic offspring seems to have a negative long-term effect on magpie’s breeding phenology in the following breeding season. Our results suggest that, although brood parasitism by great spotted cuckoos does not seem to influence the relative contribution of both sexes to parental care, it may entail long-term extra costs in terms of breeding delay for magpies.