Cedar Creek Natural History Area: Literature   Up   Home


Citation. Howitz, J. L. 1986. Brood adoption by a male black-capped chickadee. Wilson Bulletin 98(2):312-313.   [1337  CC]

Introduction. In species such as the Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus), where males provide extensive parental care, mechanisms that decrease the likelihood of a male raising unrelated young should be selected for. A male that helps raise unrelated young may, however, actually be increasing his expected lifetime reproduction. Odum (Auk 58:314-313, 1941) reported a case where a male Black-capped Chickadee that lost his mate helped raise the nestlings and fledglings of a female that had lost her mate. These two birds then raised a second brood, which he fathered. In this instance, caring for a brood fathered by another male enabled the male to obtain a mate and to father a brood that season. I report here another case in which a male Black-capped Chickadee "adopted" nestlings that he did not father, and increased his own expected reproductive output.

Keywords. Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Black-capped chickadee, Parus atricapillus

For reprints or technical issues, please correspond with the author of the paper. For comments on the format or contents of the web site, please contact webmaster@cedarcreek.umn.edu