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Data from: Do avian cooperative breeders live longer?

Cite this dataset

Beauchamp, Guy (2014). Data from: Do avian cooperative breeders live longer? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Cooperative breeding is not common in birds but intriguingly over-represented in several families, suggesting that predisposing factors, similar ecological constraints or a combination of the two facilitate the evolution of this breeding strategy. The life-history hypothesis proposes that cooperative breeding is facilitated by high annual survival, which increases the local population and leads to a shortage of breeding opportunities. Clutch size in cooperative breeders is also expected to be smaller. An earlier comparative analysis in a small sample of birds supported the hypothesis but this conclusion has been controversial. Here, I extend the analysis to a larger, worldwide sample and take into account potential confounding factors that may affect estimates of a slow pace of life and clutch size. In a sample of 81 species pairs consisting of closely related cooperative and non-cooperative breeders, I did not find an association between maximum longevity and cooperative breeding, controlling for diet, body mass and sampling effort. However, in a smaller sample of 37 pairs, adult annual survival was indeed higher in the cooperative breeders, controlling for body mass. There was no association between clutch size and cooperative breeding in a sample of 93 pairs. The results support the facilitating effect of high annual survival on the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds but the effect on clutch size remains elusive.

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