A part of a book
The Sibling Negotiation Hypothesis
Title of the book
The evolution of begging: competition, cooperation and communication
Kluwer Academic Press
Address of publication
Wright J., Leonard M.L.
I propose that when siblings strongly differ in need, in the absence of parents they signal to each other their willingness to compete for nondivisible food, provided upon the parent's return. A needy individual signals to its siblings that it will vigorously contest the impending food resources in order to deter siblings from competing when parents return to the nest, thus ensuring that it will be fed without having to beg too intensely. In contrast, since less needy siblings have little chance of being fed, they may expect little reward from investment in sibling competition. They should refrain from signalling to siblings, therefore indicating that they will retreat from sibling competition. This would allow them to avoid wasting energy in negotiation, competitive behaviour and begging. Sibling negotiation should allow nestlings to invest effort optimally in competitive begging when food resources are non-divisible.
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