Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Lesley Bulluck

Second Advisor

Rodney Dyer


Brood parasites avoid costs associated with raising young by adding eggs to another individual’s clutch and providing no parental care. When conspecific brood parasitism occurs in species with high parental investment, we expect hosts to suffer costs for raising an enlarged brood. Here I describe conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) in the prothonotary warbler using maternal exclusion analyses of 333 family groups. I found that 23.4% of clutches contained at least one offspring that was not matched to the social mother and determined that parasitism seems to be an opportunistic tactic. Hosts had lower average annual reproductive success than non-hosts, but CBP did not affect adult survival or nestling body condition and likelihood of recruitment. Clutches with CBP received less provisioning from the male, but not female, parent. Future research is needed to understand the effects of density and competition on the breeding behaviors of this and other similar species.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Included in

Biology Commons