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Abstract

Unlike most other megapodes (family Megapodiidae), Australian brush-turkeys showed no evidence of prolonged pair-bonding. Adult males and females exhibited spacial and temporal independence throughout the breeding season. Males remained close to their mounds and allowed females to lay only after copulation. Multiple copulations, often forced, occurred frequently as females excavated laying holes. Both sexes copulated promiscuously, and males accepted eggs despite a low certainty of paternity. However, the costs of cuckoldry were probably small and less than the fitness benefits derived from using mounds primarily as a means to increase female encounter, copulation, and fertilization rates.