Male woodpeckers that share mates with brothers live longer lives

Acorn Woodpeckers

A female (left) and male acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Norbert Wu / Minden /

Male acorn woodpeckers that share mates with their brothers live longer lives, have better quality homes and father more baby woodpeckers than those that choose a monogamous lifestyle.

Most acorn woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) form lifelong partnerships with a single mate, but about a third of females and half of males opt for breeding in sibling groups, sharing one or more mates with their sisters or brothers. Scientists used to think males in these groups were trading their chance of paternity for …

Read more at New Scientist

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