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Experimental evidence for state-dependent nest weight in the blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus.

Mainwaring, Mark C. and Hartley, Ian R. (2009) Experimental evidence for state-dependent nest weight in the blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus. Behavioural Processes, 81 (1). pp. 144-146. ISSN 0376-6357

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Parental investment in reproduction is generally limited by food availability, and so avian life-history research has traditionally focused on the brood rearing phase, when food requirements are greatest. Only relatively recently has the focus extended to the incubation phase, and even more recently to the nestbuilding phase, where observational and comparative evidence suggest that avian nest building is an energetically expensive and time-consuming activity. We aimed to experimentally test the limitations on this cost in a hole-breeding passerine, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), by providing supplementary food to experimental pairs during the nest-building period. In comparison with control females, that did not receive supplementary food, experimental females constructed heavier nests, with greater amounts of moss base but similar amounts of cup lining, despite there being no differences in the time taken to build the nest. This study provides empirical support for the hypothesis that avian nest building is a costly behaviour, limited by food availability.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Behavioural Processes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nest construction ; Supplementary food ; Nest weight ; Blue tit ; Cyanistes caeruleus ; Reproductive costs
Subjects: ?? ge ??
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 33942
Deposited By: Dr Ian R Hartley
Deposited On: 04 Aug 2010 15:36
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 22 May 2018 02:48
Identification Number:

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