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Sharing the love helps male acorn woodpeckers father more chicks


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A new long-term study led by Sahas Barve, a Peter Buck Fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, finds that male acorn woodpeckers breeding polygamously in duos or trios of males actually fathered more offspring than males breeding alone with a single female, contrary to conventional thinking among biologists that monogamous males necessarily produce more offspring than those in polygamous groups. For females, polygamy is less of a slam dunk but co-breeding duos left behind the same number of offspring as the birds that coupled up, while female trios left behind fewer offspring than either group.

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