Data from: Nest predation predicts infanticide in a cooperatively breeding bird
Cheng, Yi-Ru; Rubenstein, Dustin R.; Shen, Sheng-Feng (2019), Data from: Nest predation predicts infanticide in a cooperatively breeding bird, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sj7fc13
In cooperatively breeding species, social conflict is typically assumed to underlie destructive behaviours like infanticide. However, an untested alternative hypothesis in birds is that infanticide in the form of egg tossing may simply be a parental response to partial nest predation representing a life history tradeoff. We examined egg tossing behaviour in the colonial and cooperatively breeding grey-capped social weaver (Pseudonigrita arnaudi), a plural breeder in which pairs nest separately, often in the same tree. Using infrared nest cameras, we found that 78% of the tossing events from 2012 to 2017 were committed by parents, suggesting that social conflict is unlikely to be the main reason underlying egg tossing in this species. Instead, reductions in clutch size due to both natural and experimentally-simulated predation induced parental egg tossing. Our study suggests that destructive behaviour in cooperatively breeding birds can be shaped by a variety of mechanisms beyond social conflict and that alternative hypotheses must be considered when studying the adaptive significance of infanticide in group-living species.