Absent repeat calls (ARC) are produced by nestlings of some bird species when parents are not at the nest, and play a role in sibling interactions and parental investment. We explored if individual traits influencing begging also determine ARC in the spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), and whether this behaviour explains nestling feeding success. We video-taped natural broods and examined the effects of experimental feeding in this behaviour. Experimentally fed chicks stopped calling and received fewer feedings. Among un-fed chicks, absence calls were more frequent in smaller nestlings. We found a positive relationship between nestling reaction time to parental arrival and food acquisition: chicks that reacted first received more feedings that slower chicks. ARC performance was also positively related to reaction time: chicks that produced more calls also reacted first to parents. These results suggest that ARC may have important effects on resource allocation and family interaction networks.
Nestling competition, rather than supernormal stimulus, explains the success of parasitic brown-headed cowbird chicks in yellow warbler nests. —
Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci.265:
With a little help from my kin: barn swallow nestlings modulate solicitation of parental care according to nestmates’ need. —
J. Evol. Biol.25:
SainoN.NinniP.CalzaS.MartinelliR.de BernardiF.MøllerA.P. (2000a).
Better red than dead: carotenoids-based mouth coloration reveals infection in barn swallow nestlings. —
Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci.267: