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NON-BREEDING NAZCA BOOBIES (SULA GRANTI) SHOW SOCIAL AND SEXUAL INTEREST IN CHICKS
 

Summary: NON-BREEDING NAZCA BOOBIES (SULA GRANTI) SHOW
SOCIAL AND SEXUAL INTEREST IN CHICKS:
BEHAVIOURAL AND ECOLOGICAL ASPECTS
by
DAVID J. ANDERSON1)
, ELAINE T. PORTER and ELISE D. FERREE2)
(Dept. of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem NC 29109-7325 USA)
(Acc. 6-VI-2004)
Summary
Adult Nazca boobies (Sula granti) show an unusual interest in both conspecific and con-
generic nestlings, visiting them at their nest sites and performing mixtures of affiliative, ag-
gressive, and sexual behaviours. Using a 20 year database from a large Nazca booby colony
on Isla Española, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, we describe the behaviour and the individuals
performing the behaviour. Non-parental Adult Visitors (`NAVs') are typically `unemployed'
(non-breeding birds or recently failed breeders), and make visits of 1-60 min to unguarded
chicks. Males and females are equally likely to exhibit the behaviour, if they are unemployed;
since most unemployed birds are male, due to a sex ratio bias, most NAVs are male. Very
young chicks and chicks nearing fledging are not visited, because young chicks are always
attended by protective parents, and old chicks can defend themselves. When acting affilia-
tively, NAVs may simply stand by the chick, or may preen it and present gifts of pebbles

  

Source: Anderson, David J. - Department of Biology, Wake Forest University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology