We document the first observed instance of polygyny in Flammulated Owls (Otus flammeolus) and the first among insectivorous raptors. Chronologies of the male's two nests, which were 510 m apart, were separated by nearly 2 weeks. Each brood initially consisted of three owlets, similar to the mean brood size in monogamous pairs. The male delivered considerably fewer prey to the secondary nest, compared with prey-delivery rates at nests of monogamous males during the nestling period. Evidence suggested that all owlets fledged from the primary brood, but only one fledged from the secondary brood. We were uncertain of the cause of polygyny, but a possible explanation is the Hayman Fire shifted the operational sex ratio of the owls in favor of females. The extent of polygyny in Flammulated Owls may be limited by costs to the reproductive success of secondary females.
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First observed instance of polygyny in Flammulated Owls