Crouching, quivering her wings and issuing forth soft vocalizations, a female Yellow Warbler (in foreground) beckons to her mate, communicating her receptivity to procreation. He proceeds to woo her with a recently-caught Mayfly (insert) which she readily swallows before consummating their relationship. This courtship behavior by the female is practiced by many female songbirds.
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Parental care varies according to species, but usually only one sex is responsible for the care of offspring. The exception to this rule is birds, where at least 81% of species exhibit bi-parental care. It may not be shared equally, but both contribute in some way. Fairly typical are Yellow Warblers (pictured). The female Yellow Warbler builds the nest, lays the eggs, incubates the eggs, and broods the young all by herself. The male occasionally feeds his mate while she’s on the nest and when the eggs hatch, shares the delivery of food to the nestlings and the cleaning of the nest. Recent research has shown that the amount of parental care provided by males is directly related to the genetic fidelity of the female. If she’s true blue, then she may well receive a lot more help from her mate.
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