Parental influence on sibling rivalry in great tit, Parus major, nests

Tanner, Marion; Kolliker, Mathias; Richner, Heinz (2007). Parental influence on sibling rivalry in great tit, Parus major, nests. Applied animal behaviour science, 74(4), pp. 977-983. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.11.034

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Sibling and parente-offspring conflicts arise mainly over the amount and distribution of parental care, especially food. In altricial bird species where the young depend on parents for obtaining food, parents may control sibling competition by the choice of their respective provisioning locations. In great tits, the parents use fixed provisioning positions on the nest rim that are determined early in the breeding cycle and maintained until. edging. The two parents may choose positions that are close to each other, or far apart, and thereby increase or relax the pressure for optimal feeding positioning among nestlings. As an inspiration to this study we previously found that the two parents provide food from closer positions if the nest is infested by ectoparasites. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the parental choice of relative provisioning locations could be strategically used to control nestling competition. We forced parents to feed from either one or two provisioning locations and assessed the induced change in nestling movement, weight gain, and food distribution among siblings. We show that the angular distance between male and female locations influences the level of behavioural competition and affects nestling weight gain and food distribution. It is the first evidence for hole-nesting birds, where it was assumed that the nestling closest to the entrance hole was fed first, that the apparent choice of feeding positions by parents could be a way of controlling sibling competition and thereby also taking partial control over the outcome of parente-offspring conflict. (c) 2007 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Evolutionary Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Richner, Heinz








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:58

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:18

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 53485)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback