Intra‐pair Cooperation, Fledgling Care, and Renesting by Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos)

Julia Zaias, Randall Breitwisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Male and female northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) cooperated in dividing labor between care of fledglings and renesting. This study during two breeding seasons demonstrated a temporal division of labor in this multi‐brooded passerine. Both parents fed newly fledged young. One to four days after young fledged, males reduced feeding rates and began nest‐building. Males delayed initiation of nest construction in proportion to the number of fledglings present. During nest‐building, females provided more food to fledglings. Mates then switched roles. Females finished building nests, laid the next clutches, and began incubation; males fed fledglings until they were independent. Within pairs, males fed fledglings more than did females in one of two years. Both sexes defended fledglings against potential predators, although males provided stronger and more frequent defense. This is the first detailed description of a monogamous passerine that clearly demonstrates lack of brood division while renesting. Division of broods is largely precluded by the temporal division of labor, a behavioral mechanism increasing the probability of renesting. Attempts at renesting, in turn, are favored by a high level of nest predation in this population. 1989 Blackwell Verlag GmbH

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-110
Number of pages17
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intra‐pair Cooperation, Fledgling Care, and Renesting by Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this