Production of successive clutches within the same breeding season has received less attention than many other aspects of avian reproduction. Waders are of particular interest because in these birds, multiple clutches are associated with at least three different breeding systems: double-clutching (uniparental care), monogamous double-brooding (biparental care) and polyandry (uni- or biparental care). Data from eight species and twelve breeding populations suggest that early second clutches, and thus brood overlap, are associated with parental role division and uniparental care, whereas species or populations with biparental care tend to have long intervals between successive clutches. We suggest that ecological factors influencing the relative timing of the second clutch will have consequences for the parental care system. In particular, conditions that favour early laying of the second clutch (large brood overlap) are likely to lead to parental role division, as found in double-clutching species. Factors determining the timing of second clutches are discussed, as are possibilities for testing these ideas. © 2001 The Linnean Society of London.
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