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Journal Article

Prospecting enhances breeding success of first-time breeders in the great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis.

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56912

Schjørring,  Solveig
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Schjørring, S., Gregersen, J., & Bregnballe, T. (1999). Prospecting enhances breeding success of first-time breeders in the great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis. Animal Behaviour, 57(3), 647-654.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-E0BB-A
Abstract
In many species of colonial seabirds, young birds visit colonies in the years before they start breeding. This prospecting behaviour may allow them to obtain information that could enhance their future breeding success. We examined the reproductive consequences of prospecting behaviour in the colonial great cormorant, and found support for this idea. New breeders that had been prospecting actively in the previous year obtained breeding sites of higher quality (i.e. closer to sites where conspecifics had fledged young in the previous year) and had higher breeding success than those that had been less active. Prospecting occurred mostly late in the breeding season, and coincided with the time when the majority of the eggs had hatched but before the chicks started hedging, that is, when breeding success in the colony reflected habitat suitability. These results are thus consistent with the use of conspecific reproductive performance as a cue for the quality of a breeding habitat as expected from the 'performance-based conspecific attraction hypothesis'.