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Occurrences of cooperative breeding in the masked lapwing vanellus miles
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Daniel Lees, Mike WestonMike Weston, Craig ShermanCraig Sherman, G Maguire, P Dann, Adam CardiliniAdam Cardilini, L Tan
The Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles is a common ground-nesting shorebird inhabiting grasslands, paddocks, rivers, lakes, swamps and, tidal mud flats. It is particularly common in the urban areas of Phillip Island, Victoria (Dann 1981, Marchant and Higgins 1993). The Masked Lapwing usually lays between one and four eggs (the mean number of eggs per clutch of this study was 3.6 ± 1 SD) that hatch after 31 days. Both sexes incubate eggs, brood young and defend the eggs and young. Masked Lapwings produce precocial and nidifugous chicks that remain with the adults on defended territories until fledging (Marchant and Higgins 1993, Thomas 1969). The chicks are able to feed themselves within hours of hatching and rely on their parents only for protection (alarm signals) and warmth (brooding) (Marchant and Higgins 1993). Here we report three instances of likely co-operative breeding of Vanellus miles on Phillip Island between 18 July and 13 September 2012.