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OBLIGATE BROOD PARASITES lay their eggs in the nests of other species, leaving incubation and
 

Summary: OBLIGATE BROOD PARASITES lay their eggs in the
nests of other species, leaving incubation and
care of the parasitic young to surrogate hosts.
Because they lack parental obligations found
in ~99% of other bird species (Payne 1977), re-
search of obligate brood parasites has the poten-
tial to contribute to our understanding of basic
avian behavior, particularly regarding theories
concerning mating and spacing patterns. The
potential to increase fitness through parental
care, despite the ensuing reduction of additional
mating opportunities, is a critical component of
avian mating system hypotheses (Orians 1969,
Emlen and Oring 1977, Wittenberger and Tilson
1980). Monogamy is thus theoretically improb-
able for brood parasites that are free from con-
straints of parental care (Yokel 1986). Limiting
ABSTRACT.--We characterized several equivocal aspects of the breeding biology of the brood
parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) at a study site in northeastern Illinois. A
total of 175 offspring and a partial sample of parents were sampled and genotyped at six

  

Source: Ashley, Mary V. - Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology