Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

First record of cooperative breeding in an Australian estrildid, the Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda)

Erica P. van Rooij A B and Simon C. Griffith A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal Behaviour, Macquarie University, 209 Culloden Road, Marsfield, NSW 2122, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: erica@galliform.bhs.mq.edu.au

Emu 109(1) 63-65 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU08061
Submitted: 4 November 2008  Accepted: 12 January 2009   Published: 5 March 2009

Abstract

Long-tailed Finches (Poephila acuticauda) breeding in natural cavities and nest-boxes were monitored during the breeding season, between March and September 2008, as part of an ongoing field study near Wyndham, northern Western Australia. Towards the end of the breeding season, two adults and their son, who had fledged 4 months earlier, were observed together over many days feeding nestlings (10–17 days old) produced by the adults in another breeding attempt. This is the first description of cooperative breeding in an Australian estrildid finch. Based on these observations, we do not intend to suggest that the Long-tailed Finch should be considered a cooperatively breeding species, but such data help us to understand the variation that exists with respect to familial relations and parental care and provides a foundation for work addressed at understanding the evolutionary origins of cooperative behaviour in birds.


Acknowledgements

We would like to thank James Brazill-Boast and Rowena Hamer, Dhanya Pearce, Marjolein Schoe and Hanneke Wiggers for help with collecting data; Clare Holleley for the molecular sexing of these birds; and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript. This research was funded by an ARC-Discovery Project grant awarded to SCG.


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