As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Sex role reversal: Female shorebirds rule the roost

A study of shorebirds has helped shed light on why some species reverse the roles of the sexes, with males carrying out the parental duties.

A team of European researchers found that an imbalance between the number of males and females triggered the change.
greater painted snipe

They reported the switch occurred when there was a higher ration of males to females, making it beneficial for males to stay with their mate.

Adult sex ratio
It had been argued that the conventional sex roles were widespread because females invested considerable energy in producing eggs so the survival of the offspring was a priority, therefore it made sense for the female to oversee the care of the young.

Seahorses provide one of the best known examples of a reversal in parenting roles

"Although a lot of research has investigated the reasons for why animals have many contrasting types of breeding behaviour, we are still far from the full understanding of this question," explained co-author Andras Liker from the University of Sheffield.


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