Parental behaviour in the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

András Liker, Tamás Székely

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30 Citations (SciVal)


Parental behaviour of monogamous and polygynous Lapwings was studied during incubation and brood care. Both parents attended the nest in 86% of monogamous pairs (n = 29 pairs). In 14% of pairs, only the male parent continued incubation until the eggs hatched, whereas the female deserted the clutch before or at the end of incubation. There was a clear division of parental roles during incubation. Females spent more time incubating (64% of time) than their mates (27%), whereas males spent more time defending the nest (3%) than females (<1%). Time spent incubating did not differ between monogamous and polygynous males. However, polygynous females spent more time incubating (primary females: 95%; secondary females: 97%) than monogamous females. Biparental care was the most common pattern of post-hatching care, although in some broods either the male or the female parent deserted before the chicks fledged. Division of sex roles was less pronounced in brood care than during incubation. Females spent more time brooding (21%) than males (3%), and females attended their chicks more closely than males. Nevertheless, males and females spent similar amounts of time defending the brood from predators and conspecifics. We suggest that the apparent division of parental roles may be explained by sexual selection, i.e. the remating opportunities for male Lapwings might be reduced if they increase their share in incubation. However, the different efficiency of care provision, for example in ability to defend offspring, may also influence the roles of the sexes in parental care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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