Habitat fragmentation shapes natal dispersal and sociality in an Afrotropical cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Martijn Hammers, Dries Van De Loock, Beate Apfelbeck, Mwangi Githiru, Erik Matthysen & Luc Lens
It remains poorly understood how effects of anthropogenic activity, such as large-scale habitat fragmentation, impact sociality in animals. In cooperatively breeding species, groups are mostly formed through delayed offspring dispersal, and habitat fragmentation can affect this process in two opposite directions. Increased habitat isolation may increase dispersal costs, promoting delayed dispersal. Alternatively, reduced patch size and quality may decrease benefits of philopatry, promoting dispersal. Here, we test both predictions in a cooperatively breeding bird (placid...
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