CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Emu   
Emu
http://www.birdlife.org.au
  A Journal of BirdLife Australia
 
blank image Search
 
blank image blank image
blank image
 
  Advanced Search
   

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Board
Contacts
Content
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Rowley Reviews
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Notice to Authors
Submit Article
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

red arrow Complete Archive
blank image
With the complete digital archive of Emu now online, we have selected some of the most interesting and significant papers for readers to access freely.

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with BirdLife
blank image
facebook TwitterIcon LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter youtube

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 103(4)

Breeding biology and social structure of White-winged Fairy-wrens (Malurus leucopterus): comparison between island and mainland subspecies having different plumage phenotypes

Melanie K. Rathburn and Robert Montgomerie

Emu 103(4) 295 - 306
Published: 17 December 2003

Abstract

White-winged Fairy-wrens have a clan mating system wherein up to three cooperative breeding groups (breeding pair plus any helpers) are contained within the larger territory of a nuptial-plumaged male who also has a mate (likely with helpers). Nuptial-plumaged males of island and mainland subspecies have different plumage phenotypes: in the mainland Australian suspecies (Malurus leucopterus leuconotus) nuptial males are blue with white wings, whereas in the subspecies on Dirk Hartog (M. l. leucopterus) and Barrow (M. l. edouardi) Islands males are black with white wings. Here, we compare island and mainland populations of White-winged Fairy-wrens in morphology, breeding biology and social behaviour based on data collected over two breeding seasons on Dirk Hartog Island and near Lancelin, Western Australia, on the mainland. In addition to the colour differences of the nuptial males, mainland males and females were significantly larger than their counterparts on the island and mainland birds had significantly higher realised reproductive success. Pairs on Dirk Hartog Island had significantly smaller clutches, longer incubation periods, decreased hatching success, and fledged fewer offspring. Moreover, most mainland pairs had 1–4 helpers at their nests, whereas island pairs had few, if any, helpers at their nest. Thus island birds could be characterised as largely socially monogamous, whereas mainland birds were mainly cooperative breeders. We discuss morphological differences in relation to general island–mainland patterns of avian body size and relate island–mainland differences in reproductive success and social behaviour to research on parental care and sexual selection in other fairy-wren species.



Full text doi:10.1071/MU03011

© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2003

blank image
Subscriber Login
Username:
Password:  

 
PDF (101 KB) $25
 Export Citation
 Print
  
    
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help

CSIRO

© CSIRO 1996-2014