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The Ostrich Communal Nesting System
Brian C.R. Bertram

Paperback | 2014 | $32.95 / £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691600161
212 pp. | 6 x 9
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As the study of cooperative breeding systems expands, a number of key species form the examples that underpin our general understanding. The ostrich is increasingly becoming such a textbook species, on the basis of the results obtained in Brian Bertram's study of vigilance and egg discrimination in this extraordinary bird. Here Bertram presents new data on the ostrich communal nesting system, in which several females lay in one female's nest, with only one female and the male doing all the work. The Ostrich Communal Nesting System unravels the basis of the cooperation observed, and explains how a system involving apparent altruism is maintained by natural selection. It is now possible as never before to explain and quantify the effects of the different choices these birds make and to integrate ecological and morphological factors such as predation and size. Based on three seasons of study in Tsavo West National Park in Kenya, this book depended on recognizing individual birds, detecting and monitoring well-concealed nests, determining motherhood of eggs from their surface appearance, and time-lapse photography of nests. Key findings were that females could switch rapidly between reproductive strategies, that a nesting female could recognize her own eggs and when necessary discriminate against those of other females, and that the whiteness of ostrich eggs is an adaptation that protects them against overheating but at the cost of greater vulnerability to predation.

Originally published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Table of Contents:

Preface
1The Ostrich1
2Methods19
3The Population33
4The Breeding System49
5Ecological Aspects71
6Strategies Adopted by Major Females102
7Major and Minor Female Strategies124
8Male Strategies138
9Discussion: The Evolution and Maintenance of the Communal Nesting System159
References188
Subject Index193

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    File created: 11/10/2014

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