How cooperatively breeding birds identify relatives and avoid incest: New insights into dispersal and kin recognition

  title={How cooperatively breeding birds identify relatives and avoid incest: New insights into dispersal and kin recognition},
  author={Christina Riehl and Caitlin A. Stern},
Cooperative breeding in birds typically occurs when offspring – usually males – delay dispersal from their natal group, remaining with the family to help rear younger kin. Sex‐biased dispersal is thought to have evolved in order to reduce the risk of inbreeding, resulting in low relatedness between mates and the loss of indirect fitness benefits for the dispersing sex. In this review, we discuss several recent studies showing that dispersal patterns are more variable than previously thought… 

A hierarchical analysis of incest avoidance in a cooperative breeder

Although recognition is required to avoid incest when pairing in winter groups or settling near home, female-biased dispersal reduces likelihood of incest to near zero, even when males disperse relatively short distances (e.g., 2 km) from where they were born.

Cost, risk, and avoidance of inbreeding in a cooperatively breeding bird

In long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus), a cooperative breeder that risks inbreeding by living alongside opposite-sex relatives, inbreeding carries fitness costs and is avoided by active kin discrimination during mate choice, indicating that inbreeding is costly.

Investment patterns and kinship cues in a cooperatively breeding bird

It is found that sealed-bid and conditional cooperation models are inappropriate to describe investment in riflemen, and possible reasons for this are discussed, and the validity of provisioning rate as a measure of food delivery in Riflemen is demonstrated.

Kinship and Incest Avoidance Drive Patterns of Reproductive Skew in Cooperatively Breeding Birds

  • C. Riehl
  • Biology
    The American Naturalist
  • 2017
Analysis of data from 83 species of cooperatively breeding birds finds that kinship within the breeding group is a powerful predictor of reproductive sharing across species, and suggests that incest avoidance, rather than suppression by dominant breeders, may be an important proximate mechanism limiting reproduction by subordinates.

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 1 Cost, risk and avoidance of inbreeding in a cooperatively breeding bird 2

Long-tailed tits use the same kin discrimination rule to avoid inbreeding as they do to direct help towards kin, as well as show that the vocal relatives offers a probable recognition mechanism for this observed level of kin discrimination during mate choice.

Helping decisions and kin recognition in long-tailed tits: is call similarity used to direct help towards kin?

It is concluded that although vocalizations are an important part of the recognition system of long-tailed tits, discrimination is likely to be based on prior association and may involve a combination of vocal and non-vocal cues.

Kin do not always help: testing multiple hypotheses on nest feeding in a cooperatively breeding bird

In cooperatively breeding species, group members may derive multiple benefits from helping to raise other individuals’ offspring, yet not all individuals do so. In this study, we tested predictions

Individuality, kin similarity and experimental playback of contact calls in cooperatively breeding riflemen

It is concluded that zip calls are suitable kin recognition cues, but whether they are used as such remains unknown.

Mixed Mating in a Multi-Origin Population Suggests High Potential for Genetic Rescue in North Island Brown Kiwi, Apteryx mantelli

Analysis of mating and its consequences for genomic admixture in the North Island brown kiwi Apteryx mantelli population on Ponui Island suggests potential for successful genetic rescue in future ApteryX reinforcement translocations, a potential that is currently under utilised due to restrictive translocation policies.



Dispersal of sibling coalitions promotes helping among immigrants in a cooperatively breeding bird

It is indicated that dispersal need not preclude sociality, and dispersal of kin coalitions may help maintain kin-selected cooperation in the absence of delayed dispersal.

Kin Selection in Cooperative Alliances of Carrion Crows

It is shown that a population of carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) fully fits the central prediction of kin selection theory that cooperative breeding should arise among relatives.

The absence of sex-biased dispersal in the cooperatively breeding grey-crowned babbler.

It is concluded that while constraints on independent breeding encourage high rates of philopatry, incest avoidance nonetheless drives high ratesof dispersal by both sexes, indicating that effective dispersal occurs over greater distances and more frequently than recoveries of banded birds indicated.

The fitness consequences of kin-biased dispersal in a cooperatively breeding bird

Microsatellites were used to assess relatedness between immigrant females of the cooperatively breeding superb starling, Lamprotornis superbus to determine how timing of immigration led to kin subgroup formation and if being part of one influenced female fitness.

Evolutionary routes to non-kin cooperative breeding in birds

  • C. Riehl
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2013
The first systematic review of group structure for all 213 species of cooperatively breeding birds for which data are available is provided, indicating that when constraints on independent breeding are sufficiently severe, the direct benefits of group membership can substitute for potential kin-selected benefits.

Inbreeding avoidance mechanisms: dispersal dynamics in cooperatively breeding southern pied babblers.

It is shown that individuals of both sexes can avoid inbreeding through a dispersal distance mechanism, and while it appears that dispersal allows most individuals to move beyond the range of closely related kin, matings may still occur between distant kin.

The evolution of cooperative breeding in birds: kinship, dispersal and life history

  • B. Hatchwell
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
The evolution of cooperation among animals has posed a major problem for evolutionary biologists, and despite decades of research into avian cooperative breeding systems, many questions about the

Dispersal in Kin Coalition Throughout the Non‐Breeding Season to Facilitate Fine‐Scale Genetic Structure in the Breeding Season: Evidence From a Small Passerine

The ground tit (Parus humilis) is a passerine where kin frequently interact in terms of cooperative polygamy and extra-pair mating despite fast annual turnover of the breeding population, giving clues to understanding the evolution of social cooperation in relation to dispersal.

Family movements before independence influence natal dispersal in a territorial songbird

It is shown that postfledging family movements are significantly associated with subsequent dispersal directions of recruits by comparing observed angles of movement with a simulated distribution taking into account the patchy nature of the landscape.