Brood attendance by female Red Knots
33 – 38
15 April 18
Pavel S. Tomkovich, James A. Johnson, Egor Y. Loktionov, Lucas H. DeCicco
Zoological Museum, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Str., 6, Moscow, 125009, Russia
Based on years of studies on the parental behavior of Red Knots Calidris canutus, it is generally believed that only males take care of chicks. However, during our studies in Chukotka, Russia and in Alaska, USA in 2009–2017, we came across incidents of female attendance of broods in the C. c. rogersi and C. c. roselaari subspecies of the Red Knot. This is the first known evidence, confirmed by molecular sexing, of female Red Knots raising chicks. The proportion of female brood attendance among individuals of known sex was ~2% in both Chukotka and Alaska (1 of 54 broods and 3 of 117 broods, respectively). Although we discuss possible causes for female brood attendance, the question remains why female chick attendance is rare in Red Knots, and other socially monogamous sandpiper species, while they apparently are capable of successfully raising chicks.