The European Roller Coracias garrulus has
been described as a socially monogamous species with biparental care. Recently,
intense monitoring and new methodological tools have suggested that alternative
breeding strategies may occur. Here, we describe the first known record of
social polygyny with multi-brood paternal care in the European Roller. During a
long-term monitoring programme in Castro Verde, Southern Portugal, we recorded
a male Roller simultaneously attending two neighbouring nests throughout the
incubation and chick-rearing periods. Brood provisioning was female-biased in
one of the nests, while the degree of male parental care during chick-rearing
was similar between nests. Chicks fledged successfully from both broods. Future
studies should investigate the prevalence and the drivers of this alternative
breeding strategy in this species.
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