Clutch-size variation in Western Palaearctic secondary hole-nesting passerine birds in relation to nest box design

Moller, Anders Pape and Adriaensen, Frank and Artemyev, Alexandr and Banbura, Jerzy and Barba, Emilio and Biard, Clotilde and Blondel, Jacques and Bouslama, Zihad and Bouvier, Jean-Charles and Camprodon, Jordi and Cecere, Francesco and Chaine, Alexis and Charmantier, Anne and Charter, Motti and Cichon, Mariusz and Cusimano, Camillo and Czeszczewik, Dorota and Doligez, Blandine and Doutrelant, Claire and Dubiec, Anna and Eens, Marcel and Eeva, Tapio and Faivre, Bruno and Ferns, Peter N. and Forsman, Jukka T. and Garcia-del-Rey, Eduardo and Goldshtein, Aya and Goodenough, Anne E. and Gosler, Andrew G. and Gozdz, Iga and Gregoire, Arnaud and Gustafsson, Lars and Hartley, Ian R. and Heeb, Philipp and Hinsley, Shelley A. and Isenmann, Paul and Jacob, Staffan and Jarvinen, Antero and Juskaitis, Rimvydas and Kania, Wojciech and Korpimaki, Erkki and Krams, Indrikis and Laaksonen, Toni and Leclercq, Bernard and Lehikoinen, Esa and Loukola, Olli and Lundberg, Arne and Mainwaring, Mark C. and Mand, Raivo and Massa, Bruno and Mazgajski, Tomasz D. and Merino, Santiago and Mitrus, Cezary and Monkkonen, Mikko and Morales-Fernaz, Judith and Moreno, Juan and Morin, Xavier and Nager, Ruedi G. and Nilsson, Jan-Ake and Nilsson, Sven G. and Norte, Ana C. and Orell, Markku and Perret, Philippe and Perrins, Christopher M. and Pimentel, Carla S. and Pinxten, Rianne and Priedniece, Ilze and Quidoz, Marie-Claude and Remes, Vladimir and Richner, Heinz and Robles, Hugo and Russell, Andy and Rytkonen, Seppo and Carlos Senar, Juan and Seppanen, Janne T. and da Silva, Luis Pascoal and Slagsvold, Tore and Solonen, Tapio and Sorace, Alberto and Stenning, Martyn J. and Toeroek, Janos and Tryjanowski, Piotr and van Noordwijk, Arie J. and von Numers, Mikael and Walankiewicz, Wiesaw and Lambrechts, Marcel M. (2014) Clutch-size variation in Western Palaearctic secondary hole-nesting passerine birds in relation to nest box design. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5 (4). pp. 353-362. ISSN 2041-210X

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Secondary hole-nesting birds that do not construct nest holes themselves and hence regularly breed in nest boxes constitute important model systems for field studies in many biological disciplines with hundreds of scientists and amateurs involved. Those research groups are spread over wide geographic areas that experience considerable variation in environmental conditions, and researchers provide nest boxes of varying designs that may inadvertently introduce spatial and temporal variation in reproductive parameters. We quantified the relationship between mean clutch size and nest box size and material after controlling for a range of environmental variables in four of the most widely used model species in the Western Palaearctic: great tit Parus major, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca and collared flycatcher F.albicollis from 365 populations and 79610 clutches. Nest floor area and nest box material varied non-randomly across latitudes and longitudes, showing that scientists did not adopt a random box design. Clutch size increased with nest floor area in great tits, but not in blue tits and flycatchers. Clutch size of blue tits was larger in wooden than in concrete nest boxes. These findings demonstrate that the size of nest boxes and material used to construct nest boxes can differentially affect clutch size in different species. The findings also suggest that the nest box design may affect not only focal species, but also indirectly other species through the effects of nest box design on productivity and therefore potentially population density and hence interspecific competition.

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Journal Article
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Methods in Ecology and Evolution
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15 Sep 2014 09:57
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 01:17