The annual cycle and breeding behaviour of the Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra

Safford, R.J. (1997) The annual cycle and breeding behaviour of the Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra. Ostrich, 68 (2-4). pp. 58-67. ISSN 0030-6525. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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The Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra, a highly endangered species of weaver (Ploceidae) endemic to Mauritius, was studied from 1989-1993. The plumage, various display postures (typical of the family), and seven adult and two juvenile vocalisations are described. The diet consisted of insects, nectar and fruit, Males were in breeding plumage, and breeding took place, between late August and early April, although severe weather in February 1992 terminated breeding activity early. The species appeared to be monogamous and was suspected to maintain a long-term pair bond. Pairs occupied exclusive territories of not less than 0.9 ha. Both sexes built the nest from the outset, but only the female lined it. Between breeding attempts, some pairs habitually started but then abandoned one or more nests. Clutch sizes of two to four were recorded, three being the norm. Incubation and brooding were carried out by the female; the male joined in feeding the young after daytime brooding ceased. Juvenile dependency appeared to last around two weeks after which the young were ousted from the territory. The potential productivity of up to three broods per pair per year was not achieved by any pair studied because of poor nesting success. A complete moult followed breeding. Territorial defence continued throughout the year, and no evidence for seasonal movements was seen. Two behavioural features seem unexpected: 1) male nest invitation and nest advertisement behaviour appeared to be absent; 2) females participated from the outset of nest-building (including prospecting). These could be explained by the existence of a long-term pair bond, which needs to be confirmed but would not; be surprising in a species that remains on territory all year. Hypotheses that could be tested to find a mechanism responsible for the unusual features of the fody are suggested. In comparison with other fodies studied, the breeding behaviour most resembled that of the Seychelles Fody F. sechellarum (also a monogamous, nongraminivorous omnivore that breeds in solitary pairs in evergreen forest). The annual cycle was similar to that of other native passerines and most other fody taxa.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: T.J. Sango
Date Deposited: 18 May 2009 11:03
Last Modified: 18 May 2009 11:03
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