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Study on the mestling begging behavior of the Green-backed tit (Parur monticolus) at Guan-yan
Honest signaling model
Scramble sompetetion model
From 2004 to 2005, observations on Green-backed tit (Parus monticolus) breeding in nest box were made on the begging behaviors of the nestlings and the feeding behavior of parent in mid to late nestling stage (11-19 days of age) by video cameras at Guan-yuan in Taroko National Park. Observations were conducted on 11 nests, totaling 162 hours and 1525 feeding time. Among the three highest ratios of different food types, the first one came to caterpillars, standing for 72% (1083 items), the next came to the proportion of the pupas and belly part of mature insects, standing for 8% (120 items) and the last came to the proportion of the Lepidoptera , standing for 3% (51 items). It was showed that when the begging intensity was stronger, the time interval between two feedings was shorter (P=0.0009). Given the same type of fed food (caterpillars), then the longer feeding interval resulted in larger fed food (P<0.0001). Besides, the time interval between feedings varied significantly with the type of food (P<0.0001). The feeding frequency was higher in the nests of larger brood size. However, the amounts of food quantity among individual nestlings in different brood size showed no difference (P=0.3046). The feeding ability of the parental birds with different brood size showed no difference, and the begging intensity of the nestlings were not affected by the brood size (P=0.8905). There were no significant differences in the physical condition of nestlings (weight, P=0.0629; tarsus, P=0.0790; nestling condition indexes: calculated as the residuals from a regression of body mass on tarsus length, P=0.2377). The experiment manipulation which took out part of nestlings from the nest and put them back 3hr later showed that the hungry manipulation did not have significant impact upon the frequency of feeding (P=0.4362), but because of the smaller prey size of each trip in the post-manipulation period, the fed food quantity of the individual nestling was lowered after the manipulation. This indicated that the parental birds could not compensate the need of nestlings. The begging intensity of the deprived nestlings was increased significantly, and they acquired more food consequently. Because of the removal of the deprived nestlings in the fasting period, the control nestlings in the nest received more food. The begging intensity of control nestling was not affected by the deprived nestlings when they were returned. Therefore, no matter whether it was from the view point of natural brood size or from the view point of human hunger manipulation, the Honest Signaling Model which holds that begging intensity responds to the real hungry condition, i.e. the parental birds can adjust their feeding based on the begging of the nestlings and the begging behavior of the nestlings will increase with the degree of their hunger, can not be rejected.
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