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Alloparental care (i.e., care for unrelated offspring) has been documented in various avian species (Maxson 1978, Smith et al. 1996, Tella et al. 1997, Lislevand et al. 2001, Literak and Mraz 2011). A male replacement mate that encounters existing broods has options, which include alloparental care or infanticide. Infanticide may be beneficial in some species (Rohwer 1986, Kermott et al. 1990), but in long-lived avian species, like the ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) that do not renest within a season, infanticide might be detrimental. Adoption and rearing success likely provide direct evidence of competence of replacement mates as potential parents for future seasons, a benefit that might outweigh the investment of time and effort associated with adoption and rearing (after Rohwer 1986). Anticipated mating opportunity at the cost of adoption (Gori et al. 1996, Rohwer et al. 1999) may explain step-parental benevolence and therefore, in such a scenario would enhance individual fitness through subsequent recruitment of related young.
The Prairie Naturalist
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Datta, Shubham; Inselman, Will M.; Jenks, Jonathan A.; Jensen, Kent; Swanson, Christopher C.; Klaver, Robert W.; Sasmal, Indrani; and Grovenburg, Troy W., "Mate Replacement and Alloparental Care in Ferruginous Hawk" (2015). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 72.
Natural Resources and Conservation Commons, Natural Resources Management and Policy Commons, Poultry or Avian Science Commons
This work appeared in The Prairie Naturalist 47:36-37.