Prediction of cooperative breeding by terrestrial bird species in South Africa

Armstrong A.J. ; Juritz J. (1996)


Cooperative breeding in birds may be difficult to detect without marking techniques, and the breeding biology of most bird species in South Africa has not been intensively studied. Prediction of cooperative breeding from ecological and life-history traits may be useful in that helping can be specifically looked for in species having a certain set of such traits. Generalised linear models, with logit-link functions, were used to predict which relatively poorly-studied terrestrial South African bird species had at least equal odds of being either facultative cooperative breeders or regular cooperative breeders compared with non-cooperative breeders. Hole-nesters in steppe habitat and species nesting on water were likely to be facultative cooperative breeders. Species which feed in permanent groups and have altricial young are likely to be regular cooperative breeders. Significant linear-by-linear interaction effects were found between the ordered cooperative breeding variable and the ordered hatchling type and feeding dispersion variables.

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