Post-hatching parental care behaviour and hormonal status in a precocial bird - Quantitative Biology > Populations and EvolutionReport as inadecuate




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Abstract: In birds, the link between parental care behaviour and prolactin releaseduring incubation persists after hatching in altricial birds, but has neverbeen precisely studied during the whole rearing period in precocial species,such as ducks. The present study aims to understand how changes in parentalcare after hatching are related to circulating prolactin levels in mallard hensrearing ducklings. Blood was sampled in hens over at least 13 post-hatchingweeks and the behaviour of the hens and the ducklings was recorded daily untilfledging. Contacts between hens and the ducklings, leadership of the ducklingsand gathering of them steadily decreased over post-hatching time. Conversely,resting, preening and agonistic behaviour of hens towards ducklings increased.Plasma prolactin concentrations remained at high levels after hatching and thenfell after week 6 when body mass and structural size of the young were close tothose of the hen. Parental care behaviour declined linearly with brood age,showed a disruption of the hen-brood bond at week 6 post-hatching and wasrelated to prolactin concentration according to a sigmoid function. Our resultssuggest that a definite threshold in circulating prolactin is necessary topromote and-or to maintain post-hatching parental care in ducks.



Author: M. Boos DEPE-Iphc, C. Zimmer DEPE-Iphc, A. Carriere DEPE-Iphc, J.P. Robin DEPE-Iphc, O. Petit DEPE-Iphc

Source: https://arxiv.org/







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