IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Quality, need, or hunger; begging the question


  • Camilla A. Hinde
  • H. Charles J. Godfray


Why do birds and mammals beg and bleat in ways that are energetically wasteful and risk other fitness consequences such as attracting predators? Most workers assume that some genetic conflict is involved, either between parents and offspring or amongst siblings. Mock et al. (2011) provide a thoughtful analysis of the theories available concentrating on those that assume the parent actively chooses which young to feed and that begging and bleating are evolved signals. They argue that the field has concentrated too much on the signal being one of need rather than of quality and discuss a third alternative--signals of hunger. We offer here a few comments in support of Mock et al.'s sensible call for greater debate on alternative mechanisms, though argue that most available evidence supports begging as a signal of need. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Camilla A. Hinde & H. Charles J. Godfray, 2011. "Quality, need, or hunger; begging the question," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(6), pages 1147-1148.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1147-1148

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1147-1148. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.