Breeding Ecology (breeding + ecology)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Effects of acidification on the breeding ecology of a stream-dependent songbird, the Louisiana waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla)

Summary 1.,We compared breeding ecology of the Louisiana waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) on acidified and circumneutral streams in the Appalachian Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2005. 2.,Headwater streams impacted by acid mine drainage and/or acidic precipitation showed reduced pH (range 4.5,5.5) compared to four circumneutral streams (pH c. 7). Acid-sensitive taxa, including most mayflies (Ephemeroptera), were almost completely absent from acidified streams, whereas several acid-tolerant taxa, especially stonefly (Plecoptera) genera Leuctra and Amphinemura, were abundant. 3.,Louisiana waterthrush breeding density (c. 1 territory km,1) was significantly reduced on acidified streams compared to circumneutral streams (>2 territories km,1). Territories on acidified streams were almost twice as long as on circumneutral streams. Territories usually were contiguous on circumneutral streams, but they were often disjunct on acidified streams. Breeding density declined on one acidified stream that we studied over a 10-year period. 4.,Clutch initiation was significantly delayed on acidified streams, on average by 9 days in comparison to circumneutral streams, and first-egg dates were inversely related to breeding density. Birds nesting along acidified streams laid smaller clutches, and nestlings had shorter age-adjusted wing lengths. Stream acidity had no effect on nest success or annual fecundity (fledglings/female). However, the number of young fledged km,1 was nearly twice as high on circumneutral streams as on acidified streams. 5.,Acidified streams were characterized by a younger, less site-faithful breeding population. Individuals were less likely to return multiple years to breed, allowing inexperienced breeders to settle on acidified streams. Pairing success was lower on acidified streams, and we observed four cases of waterthrushes emigrating from territories on acidified streams to nearby circumneutral streams in the following year. 6.,We conclude that acidified headwaters constitute lower quality habitat for breeding Louisiana waterthrush. However, breeding birds can apparently compensate for reduced prey resources to fledge young on acidified streams by increasing territory size, foraging in peripheral non-acidified areas, and by provisioning young with novel prey. [source]

Islands in a desert: breeding ecology of the African Reed Warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus in Namibia

IBIS, Issue 4 2001
The continental African Reed Warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus, like its relative the Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis, breeds in isolated patches. We studied the mating system of the African Reed Warbler to see whether this species, like the Seychelles Warbler, shows co-operative breeding. The African Reed Warbler is not polygynous. The majority breed monogamously (88%, n= 65), however in 12% of the territories three adult unrelated birds (mostly males) were observed participating in the brooding and feeding of nestlings, suggesting a polyandrous breeding system. Multilocus DNA fingerprinting revealed that the helping bird was unrelated to the pair birds. The percentage of nests with helpers was low compared to rates found in the Seychelles Warbler or Henderson Reed Warbler Acrocephalus vaughani taiti. This could be due to the scarcity of potential helpers or to the fact that, although limited, birds still had the opportunity to disperse within a meta-population structure in search of vacant territories. The presence of helpers was associated with increased hatching success due to lower predation rates, but not with increased fledging success. Another possible benefit of helping behaviour in this species could be improved predator detection and mobbing. Nest predation was high and warblers tended to build their nests in the highest, most dense reed patches available in their territory. There was no relation between habitat quality, measured as insect food availability, and the occurrence of helpers. [source]

Prey size and ingestion rate in raptors: importance for sex roles and reversed sexual size dimorphism

Tore Slagsvold
Compared to other birds, most raptors take large prey for their size, and feeding bouts are extended. However, ingestion rate has largely been overlooked as a constraint in raptors, foraging and breeding ecology. We measured ingestion rate by offering avian and mammalian prey to eighteen wild raptors temporarily kept in captivity, representing seven species and three orders. Ingestion rate was higher for small than for large prey, higher for mammalian than for avian prey, higher for large than for small raptors, and higher for wide-gaped than for narrow-gaped raptors. Mammalian prey were ingested faster by raptors belonging to species with mainly mammals in their diet than by raptors with mainly birds in their diet, but the drop in ingestion rate with increasing prey size was more rapid for the former than for the latter. We argue that the separate sex roles found in raptors, i.e. the male hunting and the female feeding the young, is a solution of the conflict between the prolonged feeding bouts at the nest, and the benefit of rapid resumption of hunting in general, and rapid return to the previous capture site in particular (the prey size hypothesis). Thus, the sex roles differ more when prey takes longer to feed, i.e. from insects to mammals to birds. We then argue that the reversed sexual size dimorphism in raptors, i.e. smaller males than females, results from a conflict between the benefit of being small during breeding to capture the smallest items with the highest ingestion rate among these agile prey types (mammals and bird), and the benefit of being large outside the breeding season to ensure survival by being able to include large items in the diet when small items are scarce (the ingestion rate hypothesis). This hypothesis explains the observed variation in reversed sexual size dimorphism among raptors in relation to size and type of prey, i.e. increasing RSD from insects to mammals to birds as prey. [source]

Observations on the breeding behaviour of the Stripe-breasted tit (Parus fasciiventer) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Jane Yatuha
Abstract The motivation of this study was to investigate some hitherto unknown information on the breeding ecology of the Stripe-breasted Tit (Parus fasciiventer) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, south-western Uganda. Parus fasciiventer is one of the least studied and endemic bird species restricted to the montane forests of the Albertine Rift. Regionally, it is classified as near-threatened. The study was carried out around the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation Ruhija camp and the period of study was from January to June 2003. Data were generated through direct observation at the nest box sites of three active nests. Each of the nest boxes was monitored from the time of nest building to the time the chicks fledged. Results and comparative assessments from this study demonstrate that P. fasciiventer, compared with its temperate congeners like Great Tits (Parus major), Marsh Tits (Parus palustris), Crested Tits (Parus cristatus), Coal Tits (Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Parus caeruleus), raised small broods and had longer nestling period. The findings further revealed that the species is capable of raising more than one brood in a single breeding season and provide further evidence that it is a cooperative breeder. Parents participated equally in raising the young, an indication of pure parenting in the species. Résumé La raison de cette étude était de rechercher certaines informations jusqu'alors inconnues sur l'écologie de la reproduction de la mésange à ventre strié, Parus fasciiventer, dans le Parc National de la Forêt impénétrable de Bwindi, dans le sud-ouest de l'Ouganda. Parus fasciiventer est une des espèces d'oiseaux endémiques les moins étudiées; elle se limite aux forêts de montagne du Rift Albertin. Au niveau régional, elle est classée comme quasi menacée. L'étude s'est réalisée autour du camp de Ruhija de l'Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation de janvier à juin 2003. Les données furent obtenues par des observations directes sur les sites de trois nichoirs actifs. Chaque nid a été suivi depuis sa construction jusqu'à la mue des oisillons. Les résultats et des évaluations comparatives de cette étude ont montré que P. fasciiventer, comparéà ses congénères des régions tempérées comme la mésange charbonnière Parus major, la mésange nonnette Parus palustris, la mésange huppée Parus cristatus, la mésange noire Parus ater et la mésange bleue Parus caeruleus, élevait de plus petites nichées et avait une plus longue durée de nidification. Les résultats ont aussi révélé que cette espèce est capable d'élever plus d'une nichée au cours d'une même saison de reproduction et apportent de nouvelles preuves du fait que c'est une espèce qui pratique la reproduction coopérative. Les parents participaient de façon équitable à l'élevage des jeunes, un signe de parenté directe chez cette espèce. [source]

Interspecific differences in foraging preferences, breeding performance and demography in herring (Larus argentatus) and lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) at a mixed colony

S.-Y. Kim
Abstract Herring gulls Larus argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus breeding at Walney Island, Cumbria, the largest breeding colony of the two species in the UK, have recently shown very different population trends. The former has declined sharply, whereas numbers of the latter have been maintained for several years. Here we compare aspects of the feeding and breeding ecology of the two species in order to examine whether or not this suggests explanations for their different population trends. Comparison of the ratio of the two species in flight lines leading to different feeding sites and their diet composition showed that the lesser black-backed gulls fed more at sea and the herring gulls fed more in the intertidal zone. Urban resources were used by both these species. These differences have been consistent over the last three decades. Susceptibility to death from botulism at the breeding colony was the same for the two species. The availability of the intertidal zone for foraging appears to have declined in recent years, and this may have had a more negative impact on the herring gull. However, the breeding success of the two species remains relatively high. This study suggests that differences in foraging behaviour and food availability during the breeding season are unlikely to be responsible for the marked differences in demographic trends in the two species. Changes in local food availability during the winter would be expected to have more effect on the resident herring gull. This work highlights the need for more detailed studies of the ecology of both species during the breeding season and in winter in regions showing differing patterns of population change. [source]