Competing females and caring males - Sex-role reversal in the African black coucal
Research report (imported) 2003 - Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
In most animals females provide parental care, while males defend resources and try to find additional mates. However, in a small percentage of animals the sex-roles are reversed and the males provide care for the offspring while the females compete amongst each other for resources and additional mates. The African black coucal is the only known bird species that combines an altricial development of young with such a sex-role reversed breeding system, termed ‘classical polyandry’. In the black coucal project we try to combine and integrate mechanistic and evolutionary questions about an unusual mating system. Currently we investigate mainly the following questions: (1) How is territorial, aggressive behaviour regulated in females and what triggers parental behaviour in males? (2) Do male black coucals insure their genetic paternity and how much do they invest in each brood? (3) How did classical polyandry evolve in black coucals?