Differential Parental Care by Adult Mountain Plovers, Charadrius montanus


  • Stephen J. Dinsmore Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi State University, Box 9690, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762
  • Fritz L. Knopf U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150-C Centre Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526-8118




Mountain Plover, Charadrius montanus, chick survival, Montana


We studied chick survival of the Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) in Montana and found that chicks tended by females had higher survival rates than chicks tended by males, and that chick survival generally increased during the nesting season. Differences in chick survival were most pronounced early in the nesting season, and may be related to a larger sample of nests during this period. When compared to information about the nest survival of male- and female-tended plover nests, our chick data suggest a trade-off for adult plovers between the egg and chick phases of reproduction. Because Mountain Plover pairs have clutches at two nests at two different locations and show differential success between the sexes during the egg and chick phases, we offer that the Mountain Plover breeding system favours optimizing annual recruitment in a dynamic ecologic setting driven by annually unpredictable drought, grazing, and predation pressures.