Cooperative Breeding Behaviors in the Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni)

Dibben-Young, Arleone
Harmon, Kristen
Lunow-Luke, Arianna
Idle, Jessica
Christensen, Dain
Price, Melissa
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Cooperative breeding, which is commonly characterized by non-breeding individuals that assist others with reproduction, is common in avian species. However, few accounts have been reported in Charadriiformes, particularly island-nesting species. We present incidental observations of cooperative breeding behaviors in the Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), an endangered subspecies of the Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), during the 20122020 nesting seasons on the Hawaiian islands of O‘ahu and Moloka‘i. We describe two different behaviors that are indicative of cooperative breeding: (1) egg incubation by multiple adults; (2) helpers-at-the-nest, whereby juveniles delay dispersal and reproduction to assist parents and siblings with reproduction. These observations are the first published accounts of cooperative breeding in this subspecies and merit further investigation, as cooperative breeding may improve population viability of the endangered, endemic Hawaiian Stilt.
Hawaiian Stilt cooperative breeding nesting and behavioral data
waterbird, helper-at-the-nest, nest sharing, chick rearing, delayed dispersal, nesting success
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