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VAN DEN BRINK B (2016) A case of infanticide in Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica as documented with webcam observations. LIMOSA 89 (1): 27-31.

This paper describes a case of infanticide in a brood of Barn Swallows in Noordeinde in 2012, observed using a webcam. The breeding colony consisted of 18 breeding pairs, and is part of the Barn Swallow RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) project. The webcam was installed on 6 June, when the five eggs had been incubated for four days. Daily breeding activities of the webcam pair were monitored by a team of volunteers. During the incubation period the behaviour of the attending male changed, suggesting that another male had taken over. This presumed new male showed aberrant behaviour including making incubation bouts during female recesses, and nest building activities. Four of the five eggs hatched on 17 June (incubation day 15). The male removed these hatchlings the same day. The female occasionally arrived with food, but ate this herself as she found no nestlings present. The fifth egg hatched the next morning and was immediately thrown out by the male. The webcam functioned until 21 June, but regular (manual) nest checks revealed that a new brood had been initiated after six days (on 24 June). The nest contained five eggs on 29 June, but was found abandoned on 15 July, containing one dead twoday old nestling. Although it is not certain that the male committing infanticide at the first brood fathered the young of the replacement brood, this seems likely. However, this case of infanticide did not result in successful reproduction.

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limosa 89.1 2016
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