What is it about?

Carers can differ in their optimal resource allocation to offspring, but the mechanisms determining these differences have received little attention. Using the cooperatively breeding El Oro parakeet as a model system, we show that allocation rules differ between age classes: breeders and old helpers fed the youngest chicks most, whereas yearlings showed the opposite pattern. This suggests that young helpers do not (yet) have the ability to recognize the higher needs of young nestlings, or lack the ability to selectively transfer food to them.

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Why is it important?

Our results show that food allocation rules vary with the age, and thus suggest a central role of experience/learning in shaping food allocation in cooperative breeders.


This is the first paper I contributed to. It is partly based on data that I gathered during six months of fieldwork for my diploma thesis in the south of Ecuador.

Dr Jos Kramer
ETH Zurich, D-USYS

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Food allocation rules vary with age and experience in a cooperatively breeding parrot, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, March 2014, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s00265-014-1716-9.
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