Aims: To quantify how parents balance the needs of their offspring for food and protection.
Methods: We studied 13 nests from hides and spent on average 101 hours per nest monitoring prey types, provisioning rate and the time spent at the nest by both sexes in relation to brood size and brood age.
Results: Males always provided more food than females. Males brought similar amounts of prey items irrespective of brood size and nestling age, whereas females brought more prey and bigger items to larger and older broods. Females spent less time brooding larger broods, particularly early on.
Conclusions: Hen Harrier parents share the provisioning burden, with each parent delivering prey as a function of brood care requirements, hunting capability and the behaviour of the other parent.
- Hen Harrier
- Circus Cyaneus
- sexual differences
- brood provisioning
- parental investment
- reproductive success
- peregrine falcons
- eurasian kestrel