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Sex roles of the South Island pied oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus finschi

Banks, Jonathan
Paterson, Adrian M.
Journal Article
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We compared the behaviour, energy expenditure, and food intake of male and female South Island pied oystercatchers, Haematopus ostralegus finschi, breeding in pasture and crop paddocks in Canterbury. In this monogamous species, females spent more time inactive than males (P=0.03) and there was a trend for males to spend more time in territory defence than females (P=0.08). There were no significant differences in other behaviours and the sexes did not differ in their food intake rates. We used literature values for this species to estimate the energy expended in each activity and the energy expenditure rate over the breeding season. Despite the differences in the proportion of time spent in territory defence and inactivity by the sexes, males had a lower rate of energy expenditure than females over the breeding season (P=0.07). We suggest that behavioural differences are unlikely to compensate female South Island pied oystercatchers for their costs of gamete production and the difference in energy expenditure may reflect the uncertainty of paternity of males.
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Copyright © 2002 Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc.
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