Parents faced with a predator must choose between their own safety versus taking care of their offspring. Each choice can have fitness costs. Life-history theory predicts that longer-lived species should be less willing than shorter-lived species to return to care for their offspring after a predator disturbance because they have more opportunities to reproduce in the future. We increased adult predation risk during incubation for 40 bird species in north temperate, tropical, and south temperate latitudes. We found that species with higher adult survival probabilities were more cautious, waiting longer before returning to the nest to provide care. Contrary to other studies, we also found that parents were more risk averse and waited longer to return in smaller than larger species, likely reflecting greater vulnerability of smaller species. Ultimately, the relative risk a predator poses to a species and the probability of future reproduction predict parental risk taking across the world.
|Title||Adult survival probability and body size affect parental risk-taking across latitudes|
|Authors||Juan C. Oteyza, James C. Mouton, Thomas E. Martin|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Ecology Letters|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Seattle|