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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