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International Journal of Impact Engineering     Hybrid Journal   (6 followers)
International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies     Open Access   (2 followers)
International Journal of Insect Science     Open Access   (5 followers)
International Journal of Life Science and Medical Research     Open Access   (4 followers)
International Journal of Life Sciences     Open Access   (1 follower)
International Journal of Medical Informatics     Hybrid Journal   (10 followers)
International Journal of Myriapodology     Open Access  
International Journal of Nanoparticles     Hybrid Journal   (5 followers)
International Journal of Natural Sciences     Open Access   (1 follower)
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics     Partially Free   (5 followers)
International Journal of Peptides     Open Access   (3 followers)
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences     Open Access   (1 follower)
International Journal of Phytoremediation     Hybrid Journal   (1 follower)
International Journal of Plant Genomics     Open Access   (2 followers)
International Journal of Primatology     Hybrid Journal   (2 followers)
International Journal of Proteomics     Open Access   (1 follower)
International Journal of Speleology     Open Access   (9 followers)
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science     Hybrid Journal   (1 follower)
International Journal of Tryptophan Research     Open Access  
International Research Journal of Applied Life Sciences     Open Access  
International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology     Full-text available via subscription   (5 followers)
Intervirology     Full-text available via subscription  
IntraVital     Full-text available via subscription  
Invertebrate Biology     Hybrid Journal   (6 followers)
Invertebrate Neuroscience     Hybrid Journal   (2 followers)
Invertebrate Systematics     Hybrid Journal   (5 followers)
Iranian Journal of Parasitology     Open Access  
IRBM     Full-text available via subscription  
IRBM News     Full-text available via subscription  
Islets     Full-text available via subscription  
Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution     Full-text available via subscription   (2 followers)
ISRN Bioinformatics     Open Access   (2 followers)
ISRN Biomarkers     Open Access  
ISRN Biomathematics     Open Access   (1 follower)
ISRN Computational Biology     Open Access   (1 follower)
ISRN Genomics     Open Access  
ISRN Parasitology     Open Access  
ITBM-RBM News     Full-text available via subscription   (1 follower)
IUBMB Life     Hybrid Journal   (1 follower)
Izvestiya Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics     Hybrid Journal   (3 followers)
Izvestiya, Physics of the Solid Earth     Hybrid Journal   (4 followers)
Japanese Journal of Applied Physics     Full-text available via subscription   (4 followers)
JCP : BioChemical Physics     Hybrid Journal  
JETP Letters     Hybrid Journal   (4 followers)
Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability     Open Access  
Journal of Biometrics & Biostatistics     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Cell Science & Therapy     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics     Open Access   (6 followers)
Journal of Advance Researches In Biological Sciences     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Advances in Biology     Open Access  
Journal of Agricultural, Biological & Environmental Statistics     Hybrid Journal   (7 followers)
Journal of Amino Acids     Open Access   (3 followers)
Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques     Open Access   (4 followers)
Journal of AOAC International     Full-text available via subscription   (8 followers)
Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research     Hybrid Journal  
Journal of Applied Bioinformatics & Computational Biology     Partially Free  
Journal of Applied Biosciences     Open Access  
Journal of Applied Ichthyology     Hybrid Journal   (6 followers)
Journal of Applied Phycology     Hybrid Journal   (7 followers)
Journal of Applied Virology     Open Access   (6 followers)
Journal of Aquatic Sciences     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Arachnology     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Avian Biology     Hybrid Journal   (16 followers)
Journal of Bacteriology     Full-text available via subscription   (12 followers)
Journal of Basic Microbiology     Hybrid Journal   (2 followers)
Journal of Bio-Science     Open Access  
Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Biodiversity Management & Forestry     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes     Hybrid Journal  
Journal of Biogeography     Hybrid Journal   (16 followers)
Journal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology     Hybrid Journal   (11 followers)
Journal of Biological and Information Sciences     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Biological Dynamics     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Biological Education     Hybrid Journal  
Journal of Biological Engineering     Open Access   (3 followers)
Journal of Biological Physics     Hybrid Journal  
Journal of Biological Sciences     Open Access   (4 followers)
Journal of Biological Systems     Hybrid Journal   (2 followers)
Journal of Biology and Earth Sciences     Open Access  
Journal of Biology and Life Science     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare     Open Access   (3 followers)
Journal of Biomechanics     Hybrid Journal   (14 followers)
Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration     Open Access   (1 follower)
Journal of Biomedical Education     Open Access  
Journal of Biomedical Informatics     Partially Free   (12 followers)
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A     Hybrid Journal   (1 follower)
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B : Applied Biomaterials     Hybrid Journal   (1 follower)
Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology     Full-text available via subscription   (5 followers)
Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering     Open Access  
Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Biomedical Sciences     Open Access   (2 followers)
Journal of Biomolecular Screening     Hybrid Journal   (3 followers)
Journal of Bionic Engineering     Full-text available via subscription  
Journal of Biorheology     Hybrid Journal  

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Journal of Avian Biology    [18 followers]  Follow    
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
     ISSN (Print) 0908-8857 - ISSN (Online) 1600-048X
     Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1594 journals]   [SJR: 1.066]   [H-I: 50]
  • The exception to the rule: retreating ice front makes Bewick's swans
           Cygnus columbianus bewickii migrate slower in spring than in autumn
    • Authors: Rascha J. M. Nuijten; Andrea Kölzsch, Jan A. van Gils, Bethany J. Hoye, Kees Oosterbeek, Peter P. de Vries, Marcel Klaassen, Bart A. Nolet
      Pages: no - no
      Abstract: In the vast majority of migratory bird species studied so far, spring migration has been found to proceed faster than autumn migration. In spring, selection pressures for rapid migration are purportedly higher, and migratory conditions such as food supply, daylength, and/or wind support may be better than in autumn. In swans, however, spring migration appears to be slower than autumn migration. Based on a comparison of tundra swan Cygnus columbianus tracking data with long‐term temperature data from wheather stations, it has previously been suggested that this was due to a capital breeding strategy (gathering resources for breeding during spring migration) and/or to ice cover constraining spring but not autumn migration. Here we directly test the hypothesis that Bewick's swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii follow the ice front in spring, but not in autumn, by comparing three years of GPS tracking data from individual swans with concurrent ice cover data at five important migratory stop‐over sites. In general, ice constrained the swans in the middle part of spring migration, but not in the first (no ice cover was present in the first part) nor in the last part. In autumn, the swans migrated far ahead of ice formation, possibly in order to prevent being trapped by an early onset of winter. We conclude that spring migration in swans is slower than autumn migration because spring migration speed is constrained by ice cover. This restriction to spring migration speed may be more common in northerly migrating birds that rely on freshwater resources.
      PubDate: 2013-12-09T10:39:20.94512-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2013.00287.x
  • Snake predation on North American bird nests: culprits, patterns and
           future directions
    • Abstract: Predation is the leading cause of nest failure for most birds. Thus, for ornithologists interested in the causes and consequences of variation in nest success, knowing the identity and understanding the behavior of dominant nest predators is likely to be important. Video documentation of nests has shown that snakes are frequent predators. Here we reviewed 53 North American studies that used nest cameras and used these data to identify broad patterns in snake predation. Snakes accounted for 26% (range: 0–90%) of recorded predation events, with values exceeding 35% in a third of studies. Snakes were more frequent nest predators at lower latitudes and less frequent in forested habitat relative to other nest predators. Although 12 species of snakes have been identified as nest predators, ratsnakes Elaphe obsoleta, corn snakes E. guttata and fox snakes E. vulpina were the most frequent, accounting for > 70% of all recorded nest predation events by snakes and have been documented preying on nests in 30–65% of studies conducted within their geographic ranges. Endotherm‐specialist snakes (Elaphe and Pituophis genera) were more likely to depredate nests in forests and the canopy relative to other snakes, due to their affinity for edge habitat. Predation by only ratsnakes and corn snakes was predominantly nocturnal and only ratsnakes were more likely to prey on nests during the nestling stage. Snakes were not identified to species in over 30% of predation events, underlining the need for more complete reporting of results. A review of research to date suggests the best approach to investigating factors that bring snakes and nests into contact involves combining nesting studies with radio tracking of locally important snake nest predators.
  • Diverse avian malaria and other haemosporidian parasites in Andean house
           wrens: evidence for regional co‐diversification by
    • Abstract: Recent research has revealed well over 1000 mtDNA lineages of avian haemosporidian parasites, but the extent to which this diversity is caused by host–parasite coevolutionary history or environmental heterogeneity is unclear. We surveyed haemosporidian and host mtDNA in a geographically structured, ecological generalist species, the house wren Troglodytes aedon, across the complex landscape of the Peruvian Andes. We detected deep genetic structure within the house wren across its range, represented by seven clades that were between 3.4–5.7% divergent. From muscle and liver tissue of 140 sampled house wrens we found 23 divergent evolutionary lineages of haemosporidian mtDNA, of which ten were novel and apparently specific to the house wren based on searches of haemosporidian databases. Combined and genus‐specific haemosporidian abundance differed significantly across environments and elevation, with Leucocytozoon parasites strongly associated with montane habitats. We observed spatial stratification of haemosporidians along the west slope of the Andes where five lineages were restricted to non‐overlapping elevational bands. Individual haemosporidian lineages varied widely with respect to host specificity, prevalence, and geographic distribution, with the most host‐generalist lineages also being the most prevalent and widely distributed. Despite the deep divergences within the house wren, we found no evidence for host‐specific co‐diversification with haemosporidians. Instead, host‐specific haemosporidian lineages in the genus Haemoproteus were polyphyletic with respect to the New World parasite fauna and appeared to have diversified by periodic host‐switches involving distantly related avian species within the same region. These host‐specific lineages appeared to have diversified contemporaneously with Andean house wrens. Taken together, these findings suggest a model of diffuse co‐diversification in which host and parasite clades have diversified over the same time period and in the same geographic area, but with parasites having limited or ephemeral host specificity.
  • Age‐dependent dispersal and habitat choice in black‐tailed
           godwits Limosa limosa limosa across a mosaic of traditional and modern
           grassland habitats
    • Abstract: Whether to disperse, and where to, are two of the most prominent decisions in an individual's life, with major consequences for reproductive success. We studied natal and breeding dispersal in the monogamous black‐tailed godwit Limosa limosa limosa in the Netherlands, where they breed in agricultural grasslands. The majority of these grasslands recently changed from wet herb‐rich meadows into well‐drained grassland monocultures, on which godwits have a lower reproductive success. Here we examine habitat selection with a multistate mark–recapture analysis. Habitat transition probabilities between meadows and monocultures were estimated on the basis of 1810 marked chicks and 531 adults during seven years in a 8500 ha study area. Young and adult godwits may differ in habitat selection because: 1) adults may have gained experience from previous nest success where to settle, 2) younger individuals may find it harder to compete for the best territories. Both young and adults moved at a higher rate from the predominant monocultures to meadows than the other way around, thus actively selecting the habitat with better quality. However, dispersal distance of adults was not affected by previous nest success. The average dispersal distance from place of birth of godwits breeding for the first time was ten times larger than that of adult godwits. That godwits breeding in their second calendar year arrived and laid at similar dates and were equally able to select territories in areas with high breeding densities, suggests that young birds were not competitively inferior to adults. Although on monocultures reproduction is insufficient to maintain constant populations, birds sometimes moved from meadows to monocultures. This explains why even after 30 years of land‐use intensification, godwits still breed in low‐quality habitat. The adjustment to changing habitat conditions at the population level appears to be a slow process.
  • Inland flights of young red‐eyed vireos Vireo olivaceus in relation
           to survival and habitat in a coastal stopover landscape
    • Abstract: Inland dispersal of migrating land birds away from the coast, often opposite to the direction of migration, occurs frequently. Many of these movements may involve migrants seeking improved stopover conditions farther inland, but direct study of inland flights and of the ecological factors influencing their occurrence is limited. We used an automated telemetry array and ground‐tracking to assess flight behaviours, survival, and habitat use of young red‐eyed vireos Vireo olivaceus during fall migration at a coastal island and an inland stopover site in southwest Nova Scotia. We recorded inland flights for 41% (11/27) of individuals that departed the island. At least 25% of 16 individuals tagged at the inland site also relocated within the landscape prior to continuing migration, but due to the higher proportion of ambiguous flights at the inland site (44%) compared to the island (15%), we could not be sure if actual proportions of relocations differed between sites. Mortality on the island (at least 10 of 39 individuals) was significantly higher than at the inland site (0 of 16 individuals). At mainland sites near the coast where we found 6 of 11 individuals after they relocated away from the island, mortality remained high (2/6). Lack of deciduous canopy cover may have contributed to the high mortality on the island, but coastal mainland sites had a relatively high amount of deciduous canopy cover, similar to at the inland site where there was no mortality. Although coastal stopover sites may be important for migrating songbirds, especially before or after making a large water crossing, our results show that mortality can be much higher, and habitat poorer, at the coast compared to farther inland. Therefore, relocating inland may be an adaptive strategy for individuals that initially settle at the coast and that need to rest and refuel before they continue migration.
  • Colony attendance and at‐sea distribution of thin‐billed
           prions during the early breeding season
    • Abstract: Procellariiform seabirds have extreme life histories; they are very long‐lived, first breed when relatively old, lay single egg clutches, both incubation and chick‐rearing are prolonged and chicks exhibit slow growth. The early part of the breeding season is crucial, when pair bonds are re‐established and partners coordinate their breeding duties, but is a difficult period to study in burrow‐nesting species. Miniature geolocators (Global Location Sensors or GLS loggers) now offer a way to collect data on burrow attendance, as well as determine at‐sea movements. We studied the early breeding season in thin‐billed prions Pachyptila belcheri breeding at New Island, Falkland Islands. Males and females arrived back at the colony at similar times, with peak arrival in the last days of September. However, males spent more time on land during the pre‐laying period, presumably defending and maintaining the burrow and maximising mating opportunities. Males departed later than females, and carried out a significantly shorter pre‐laying exodus. Males took on the first long incubation shift, whereas females returned to sea soon after egg laying. During the pre‐laying exodus and incubation, males and females travelled at similar speeds (> 250 km d−1) and were widely distributed over large areas of the Patagonian Shelf. Inter‐annual differences in oceanographic conditions were stronger during the incubation than during the pre‐laying exodus and were matched by stronger differences in distribution. The study thus suggests that extended trips and flexible distribution enable thin‐billed prions to meet the high energy demands of egg production and incubation despite low productivity in waters around the colony during the early summer.
  • Genetically‐based behavioural morph affects stopover refuelling
           performance in white‐throated sparrows Zonotrichia albicollis
    • Abstract: Intraspecific competition can influence refuelling at migration stopover sites. White‐throated sparrows Zonotrichia albicollis have genetically‐determined plumage morphs that differ in dominance behaviour and competitive abilities. This study examines the effects of plumage morph, sex and age, three likely indicators of competitive ability, on fall migration timing, body composition, and refuelling rates during stopover at Long Point, Ontario. We used quantitative magnetic resonance analysis and plasma metabolite profiling to determine body composition and refuelling rates, respectively. We determined sex and plumage morph genetically. Competitive ability did not influence migration timing. Controlling for structural size, males had larger lean mass than females, but we found no differences in body fat or lean mass between plumage morphs. Plasma metabolite concentrations indicated that the aggressive white‐stripe morph refuelled faster than the less aggressive tan‐stripe morph, though there were no differences among sex and age groups. We suggest that increased refuelling rates did not result in increased fat or lean mass because 1) individuals categorised as less competitive had longer stopover durations to compensate for slower refuelling rates; or 2) costs of behaving more competitively offset gains from faster refuelling rates.
  • The origin of feather holes: a word of caution
    • Abstract: Antagonistic processes between parasites and their hosts are hallmarks of evolutionary ecology. A group of parasites is adapted to feed on feather keratin. In doing so, they inflict a variety of costs on avian hosts by causing feathers to degrade faster. Feather holes represent a class of feather damage that is attributed to the chewing bites of Phthirapteran lice. Consequently, hole counts were used as an approximation of lice infestation intensity when studying bird–lice interaction. Here, I express some reservations regarding this practice. I survey the literature concerning feather holes and the state of the hole–lice concept, highlight some uncertainties regarding its reliability, offer possible alternative explanations for the origin of holes, and suggest directions for future investigations. I conclude that the origin of holes is still unknown, and so a prudent approach is desirable when interpreting the relationship between avian phenotype or fitness and lice infestation inferred from hole counts.
  • Maternal dietary carotenoids mitigate detrimental effects of maternal GnRH
           on offspring immune function in Japanese quail Coturnix japonica
    • Abstract: Maternal resources deposited in eggs can affect the development of several offspring phenotypic traits and result in trade‐offs among them. For example, maternal androgens in eggs may be beneficial to offspring growth and competitive ability, but detrimental to immunocompetence and oxidative stress. In contrast, maternal antioxidants in eggs may be beneficial if they mitigate oxidative stress and immunosuppressive effects of androgens. We investigated possible interactive effects of maternal steroids and carotenoids on aspects of offspring physiology and phenotype, by simultaneously manipulating levels of androgens (via gonadotropin‐releasing hormone, GnRH‐challenges) and carotenoids (via diet supplementation) in captive female Japanese quail Coturnix japonica during egg laying. Carotenoid supplementation of hens, which elevates yolk concentrations of carotenoid and vitamins A and E, enhanced egg hatching success, offspring survival to age 15 d, and size of the bursa of Fabricius in offspring. In contrast, repeated maternal GnRH challenges, which elevated yolk testosterone concentrations, enhanced offspring neonatal size, but negatively affected bursa size. However, interaction among the treatments suggests that the positive effect of maternal carotenoid supplementation on plasma bactericidal capacity was mediated by maternal GnRH challenges. Chicks originating from carotenoid‐supplemented hens were less immunosuppressed than those originating from carotenoid‐supplemented + GnRH‐challenged hens, which were less immunosuppressed than chicks from GnRH‐challenged females not supplemented with carotenoids. Females availability of carotenoid enriched diets allows them to enhance the development of offspring immune system via carotenoids and vitamins deposited in egg yolks and offset detrimental effects of androgens deposited by GnRH‐challenged females.
  • North‐African house martins endure greater haemosporidian infection
           than their European counterparts
    • Abstract: Afro‐Palearctic migrant species are exposed to parasites at both breeding and over‐wintering grounds. The house martin Delichon urbicum is one such migratory species facing high instances of blood parasite infection. In an attempt to determine whether breeding European house martins harbour similar blood parasite communities to populations breeding in North Africa, birds were sampled at their breeding grounds in Switzerland and Algeria. Moreover, haemosporidian prevalence and parasite communities were compared to published data sets on Spanish and Dutch breeding populations. This study furthermore wanted to establish whether co‐infection with multiple genera or lineages of parasites had negative effects on host body condition. Breeding house martins caught in Algeria showed a higher prevalence of avian haemosporidian parasites than did European populations. Swiss house martins showed a prevalence comparable to that of Spanish and Dutch populations. There were slight differences in the haemosporidian community between European and North‐African populations in terms of composition and abundance of each lineage. Similar to the Dutch house martins, but in contrast to the Spanish population, infection status and number of genera of parasites infecting single hosts did not influence Swiss house martin body condition.
  • Why water birds forage at night: a test using black‐tailed godwits
           Limosa limosa during migratory periods
    • Abstract: Many migratory water birds are known to feed both during day and night outside the breeding season, but the underlying factors and mechanisms determining this foraging pattern are poorly understood. We addressed this topic by comparing both diurnal and nocturnal foraging activity (FA) and metabolizable energy intake rate (MEIR) in migrating black‐tailed godwits Limosa limosa staging in two different habitats, rice fields and coastal salt pans. Black‐tailed godwits staging in rice fields during pre‐breeding migration fed on rice seeds, and only foraged during the daylight period (FA: 81.89 ± 3.03%; MEIR: 1.15 ± 0.03 kJ · min−1). Daily energy consumption (DEC) of godwits relying on seeds was enough to meet the theoretical daily energy expenditure (DEE). In contrast, black‐tailed godwits staging in salt pans during post‐breeding migration fed on chironomid larvae, and they foraged during both daylight (FA: 67.36 ± 4.30%; MEIR: 0.27 ± 0.01 kJ · min−1) and darkness (FA: 69.89 ± 6.89%; MEIR: 0.26 ± 0.00 kJ · min−1). Nocturnal energy intake contributed 31.7% to DEC, the latter being insufficient to fully meet DEE. Our findings give empirical support to the view that diurnal foraging is the norm in many migratory water birds outside the breeding season, and nocturnal foraging occurs when the daily energy requirements are not met during the daylight period, supporting the supplementary food hypothesis.
  • Age‐specific survival and recruitment of piping plovers Charadrius
           melodus in the Great Lakes region
    • Abstract: Juvenile survival and age at first breeding (i.e. recruitment) are critical parameters affecting population dynamics in birds, but high levels of natal dispersal preclude measurement of these variables in most species. We used multi‐state capture–recapture models to measure age‐specific survival and recruitment probabilities of piping plovers Charadrius melodus in the Great Lakes region during 1993–2012. This federally endangered population is thoroughly monitored throughout its entire breeding range, minimizing concerns that measures of survival and recruitment are confounded by temporary or permanent emigration. First‐year survival (± SE) averaged 0.284 ± 0.019 from mean banding age (9 d) and 0.374 ± 0.023 from fledging age (23 d). Factors that increased first‐year survival during the pre‐fledging period (9–23 d) included earlier hatching dates, older age at banding, greater number of fledglings at a given site, and better body condition at time of banding. However, when chicks that died prior to fledging were excluded from analysis, only earlier hatching dates improved first‐year survival estimates. Females had a higher probability (0.557 ± 0.066) of initiating breeding at age one than did males (0.353 ± 0.052), but virtually all plovers began breeding by age three. Adult survival was reduced by increased hurricane activity on the southeast U.S. Atlantic coast where Great Lakes piping plovers winter and by higher populations of merlins Falco columbarius. Mean annual adult survival declined from 1993 to 2012, and did not differ between males and females. Enhanced body condition led to higher survival to fledge and early breeding led to improved first‐year survival; therefore, management actions focused on ensuring access to quality feeding habitat for growing young and protecting early nests may increase recruitment in this federally endangered population.
  • Facultative adjustment of pre‐fledging mass recession by nestling
           chimney swifts Chaetura pelagica
    • Abstract: In species susceptible to mass‐dependent flight costs, mass recession prior to fledging may ensure that fledglings have appropriate wing loading. Our objectives were to determine if mass recession by chimney swift Chaetura pelagica nestlings is intrinsically controlled or facultatively adjusted by nestlings, and if mass recession is driven by changes in parental (i.e. reduced provisioning rates) or nestling (i.e. reduced begging) behavior. Nestling swifts (n = 50 in 17 broods) were divided into three treatment groups: controls, half‐weighted, or weighted. Half‐weighted and weighted nestlings had 0.6–0.7 or 1.2–1.3‐g lead weights, respectively, glued to body feathers on their backs during the period from 16 to 26 d post‐hatching. Weighted nestlings lost more mass than control and half‐weighted nestlings. After accounting for the added weights, control nestlings also had a higher wing loading than weighted nestlings. Video recordings revealed that provisioning rates of adult swifts did not vary throughout the nestling period, but the percent time nestlings spent begging increased slightly with age. Differences in mass recession among nestlings in different treatment groups resulted in convergence toward similar wing loading values likely optimal for flight efficiency. Mechanism(s) involved in this process remain unclear because provisioning rates were similar (from day 12 to 26 post‐hatching) whereas percent begging time by nestlings tended to increase with nestling age. However, weighted nestlings may have lost more mass than control nestlings by soliciting less food from adults than siblings, being more active, losing more water due to tissue maturation, or through some combination of two or more of these factors.
  • Direct and indirect effects of an insect outbreak increase the
           reproductive output for an avian insectivore and nest‐cavity
           excavator, the red‐breasted nuthatch Sitta canadensis
    • Abstract: Community‐wide food pulses may ameliorate food constraints but may also result in increased competition for other resources and predation rates. In cavity‐nesting vertebrate communities, where the availability of tree cavities can limit reproduction and the reuse of cavities can increase nest predation by squirrels, excavators may maximize their fecundity by creating new cavities in competitor‐ and predator‐rich habitats that undergo food pulses. The reproductive cost associated with excavation (i.e. increased energy allocation early in the breeding season that often delays laying and thereby reduces clutch size), may be reduced if food pulses allow for a longer breeding season and larger clutches. A large‐scale mountain pine beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae outbreak that occurred during our long‐term study (1995–2009) provided a natural food supplementation experiment across 27 sites in British Columbia, Canada. We examined the effects of a reduction in food constraints accompanied with increases in excavation rates, conspecific density and nest predation risk on the fecundity of a facultative excavator, the red‐breasted nuthatch Sitta canadensis. We found a total of 420 nests in tree cavities. Nuthatch clutch sizes ranged from two to nine eggs, and broods from one to nine fledglings per nest. Later clutches were larger at sites and in years with high beetle abundance (mean clutch size of six eggs did not decline later in the season), second broods were produced in outbreak years (usually only one nesting attempt/normal year), and the number of fledglings per successful nest increased with increasing beetle abundance and nuthatch densities, but declined with increased squirrel densities. Since fecundity did not differ between new and reused cavities, the costs and benefits of excavation versus cavity reuse may be neutralized for nuthatches during strong resource pulses. Overall, the beetle outbreak reduced food constraints for nuthatches and provided alternate food for nest predators, allowing increased annual fecundity.
  • Genetic structure in Iberian and Moroccan populations of the globally
           threatened great bustard Otis tarda: a microsatellite perspective
    • Abstract: Patterns of genetic structure and gene flow among populations help us understand population dynamics and properly manage species of concern. Matrilineal mtDNA sequence data have been instrumental in revealing genetic structure at the intraspecific level, but bi‐parentally inherited markers are needed to confirm patterns at the genome level and to assess the potential role of sex‐biased dispersal on gene flow, particularly in species where males are known to be the main dispersing sex. Here we use microsatellite loci to examine patterns of genetic structure across the range of the great bustard in Iberia and Morocco, an area representing 70% of the world population of this globally threatened species. We used population differentiation statistics and Bayesian analysis of population structure to analyse data from 14 microsatellite loci. These data provide greater resolution than mtDNA sequences, and results reveal the existence of three main genetic units corresponding to Morocco, the northeastern part of Spain, and the rest of the Iberian Peninsula. Our results, together with previous mtDNA data, confirm the genetic differentiation of the northern Africa population and the importance of the Strait of Gibraltar as a barrier to gene flow for both males and females, rendering the Moroccan population a separate management unit of high conservation concern.
  • The mucous covering of fecal sacs prevents birds from infection with
           enteric bacteria
    • Abstract: Nestlings of many bird species produce fecal sacs, excrements encapsulated within a mucous covering. Although it facilitates parents’ removal of feces from nests, which would improve hygienic conditions for developing nestlings, no functional (i.e. adaptive) explanation of fecal sac production has been previously investigated. We propose that the mucous covering would isolate enteric pathogenic bacteria, thereby preventing contamination of nestlings and parents. This antimicrobial hypothesis therefore predicts that density of bacteria would be drastically reduced from the inside to the outside of nestlings’ droppings, and that the fecal sac covering would inhibit other bacterial grow. We tested these predictions by means of culturing bacteria obtained from different parts of the sac and inhibition tests. In accordance with the hypothesis, bacterial loads of the outside of fecal sacs were significantly lower than those estimated from the inside of the covering. In addition, we did not find evidence of antimicrobial activity of the covering, which suggests that the hypothesized bacterial isolation function is accomplished by a physical rather than a chemical protection. Bacterial density of the liquid that permeates out after 23 min does not differ with that estimated for the inside of the sac, suggesting short‐term effects of fecal sacs as bacterial barrier. These findings highlight the major role of bacterial infections as a selective pressure for explaining the evolution of traits that, as the covering of fecal sacs, facilitate nest sanitation in this group of animals.
  • Lower survival probability of house sparrows severely infected by the
           gapeworm parasite
    • Abstract: The effect of parasites in natural populations has received increasing attention in recent years. Studies have shown that parasites may play an important part in population ecology due to their potential effects on host fitness. The main purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of a nematode parasite (gapeworm, Syngamus trachea) on survival probability of house sparrows Passer domesticus from six natural populations located on 4 islands in the Helgeland archipelago in northern Norway. Infection status was obtained from feces samples collected from 603 house sparrows in the summer and autumn of 2007–2011. We also collected data on a visible symptom of severe infection (gasping for air) in 1391 house sparrows in the summer and autumn 2004–2011. We took advantage of recent advances in disease modeling in a multi‐event capture–mark–recapture framework to account for imperfect observations (state uncertainty). Each dataset was separately analyzed, in both analyses we investigated the relationships of year, island, individual body condition, age class and population density with survival probabilities. The relationship between infection (determined by feces egg counts) on annual survival of house sparrows was not statistically significant. However, the probability of annual survival was found to be significantly lower for adult house sparrows exhibiting a symptom of severe gapeworm infection, gasping for air. The present study demonstrates that severe infection by a parasite can have a negative relationship with survival probability of short‐lived avian hosts in wild populations.
  • Equal reproductive success of phenotypes in the Larus
           glaucescens–occidentalis complex
    • Abstract: Glaucous‐winged gulls Larus glaucescens and western gulls L. occidentalis hybridize extensively where their ranges overlap along the coasts of Washington and Oregon, producing a continuum of phenotypic intergrades between the two parental species. This zone often is considered an example of geographically bounded hybrid superiority, but studies of relative success among parental types and hybrids have not provided consistent support for this model. We tested the predictions of the dynamic‐equilibrium and geographically bounded hybrid superiority hypotheses by studying mate choice and reproductive success among gulls on Protection Island, Washington, the largest breeding colony of glaucous‐winged/western gulls within the hybrid zone. The dynamic‐equilibrium hypothesis posits that hybridization due to dispersal balances selection against less fit hybrids and assortative mating is adaptive. Geographically bounded hybrid superiority posits that hybrids are better fit than parental types within an ecotone between the environments to which the parental species are adapted, and a preference for hybrid mates is adaptive. Additionally, we investigated whether hatching success and nest site choice are correlated for Protection Island gulls. We assigned a hybrid index to each sample bird by examining plumage melanism and bare part coloration in the field. Sheltered nests contained larger clutches and exhibited increased hatching success, but choice of nest habitat was not associated with hybrid index. Western gull‐like pairs produced smaller third eggs; however, hybrid index was not correlated with clutch size or hatching success. Protection Island gulls did exhibit assortative mating. In short, we did not find strong support for either geographically bounded hybrid superiority or the dynamic‐equilibrium hypothesis.
  • Foraging movements of Leach's storm‐petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa
           during incubation
    • Abstract: Knowledge of foraging movements during the breeding season is key to understanding energetic stresses faced by seabirds. Using archival light loggers (geolocators), a Bayesian state–space model, and stable isotope analysis, we compared foraging movements of Leach's storm‐petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa during their incubation periods in 2012 and 2013. Data were collected from two colonies, Bon Portage Island and Country Island, which are 380 km apart along the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Based on allometry for procellariiform mass, predicted foraging ranges for Leach's storm‐petrels are 200 km; however, observed maximum distances from the colony were 3 to 5 times that. Storm‐petrels from Country Island travelled 1015 ± 238 km southeast to the Laurentian fan and south of the Grand Banks whereas storm‐petrels from Bon Portage Island travelled 613 ± 167 km southeast, beyond the continental slope, east of Georges Bank. The average distance travelled in a return trip was 2287 ± 603 km and 1303 ± 351 km for Country Island and Bon Portage Island, respectively. There were no differences between years in cumulative distances travelled within islands, but foraging trips did not last as long in 2013 (4.7 ± 1.5 d) as they did in 2012 (6.2 ± 2.1 d). Stable isotope analyses indicated that, during the incubation period, prey items from Country Island were from higher trophic levels and possibly had higher energy content than those from Bon Portage Island, perhaps explaining the more distant and longer foraging trips for Country Island birds.
  • Contemporary divergence of island bird plumage
    • Abstract: Although the diversity in avian plumage coloration is striking, there is little known about the rate with which colour diverges. Eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis bermudensis on the island of Bermuda are considered endemic based upon differences in coloration from the mainland, but recent molecular evidence suggests they established on the island only 400 yr ago. We explored sexual dichromatism and colour divergence in this isolated population, thus providing one of the few quantitative accounts of contemporary plumage change. Contrary to expectations that sexual dichromatism would decrease in this sedentary island population, we found that males and females have increased plumage ornamentation in a coordinated fashion that acts to preserve sexual dichromatism, while plumage colour is also altered to become brighter and bluer. These differences were in place at least 100 yr ago based upon a separate analysis of museum specimens. Our results provide insight into the divergence of plumage colour in an incipient species, and we show the remarkable extent to which plumage colour can change over contemporary time frames.
  • Occupancy of yellow‐billed and Pacific loons: evidence for
           interspecific competition and habitat mediated co‐occurrence
    • Abstract: Interspecific competition is an important process structuring ecological communities, however, it is difficult to observe in nature. We used an occupancy modelling approach to evaluate evidence of competition between yellow‐billed (Gavia adamsii) and Pacific (G. pacifica) loons for nesting lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. With multiple years of data and survey platforms, we estimated dynamic occupancy states (e.g. rates of colonization or extinction from individual lakes) and controlled for detection differences among aircraft platforms and ground survey crews. Results indicated that yellow‐billed loons were strong competitors and negatively influenced the occupancy of Pacific loons by excluding them from potential breeding lakes. Pacific loon occupancy was conditional on the presence of yellow‐billed loons, with Pacific loons having almost a tenfold decrease in occupancy probability when yellow‐billed loons were present and a threefold decrease in colonization probability when yellow‐billed loons were present in the current or previous year. Yellow‐billed and Pacific loons co‐occurred less than expected by chance except on very large lakes or lakes with convoluted shorelines; variables which may decrease the cost of maintaining a territory in the presence of the other species. These results imply the existence of interspecific competition between yellow‐billed and Pacific loons for nesting lakes; however, habitat characteristics which facilitate visual and spatial separation of territories can reduce competitive interactions and promote species co‐occurrence.
  • No evidence for long‐term effects of reproductive effort on parasite
           prevalence in great tits Parus major
    • Abstract: Allocation of resources between the life history traits reproduction and parasite defence are expected because both are energetically costly. Experimental evidence for such allocation has been found in short‐term effects of reproduction on parasite prevalence or immune function. However, there is increasing evidence for long‐term negative effects of reproductive effort on individuals. This study investigates whether long‐term effects of reproductive effort on parasite prevalence exist. Brood sizes of great tits Parus major were experimentally altered in one breeding season and in the subsequent breeding season the prevalence of three parasites types (blood parasites, ticks and fleas) on the surviving parents were investigated. We detected no long‐term effects of brood size manipulation on the prevalence of parasites in the next year and therefore provide no evidence for inter‐seasonal effects of reproductive effort on parasite prevalence. The post hoc level of statistical power was reasonable for effects on blood parasite and flea prevalence, but low for effects on tick prevalence.
  • Avian claw morphometry and growth determine the temporal pattern of
           archived stable isotopes
    • Abstract: Detailed knowledge about claw formation and growth rate is a prerequisite for the interpretation of avian claw stable isotopes, as is commonly done with feather stable isotopes to e.g. infer habitat use, dietary specialisations, and spatial occurrence. In this study, we provide basic information about claw formation and empirical evidence about the time scale of archiving isotopic information to develop a reliable assessment of archived isotopic pattern in claws of passerines. Avian claws grow conically from the tip of the bone of the phalanx. The length of the tip of an avian claw, suitable for stable isotope analysis, is about 42 ± 6.8% (SD) of total linear claw length and can also be estimated from the body mass of a given species. Claw growth rate in adult songbirds typically ranged between 0.03 and 0.05 mm d−1, but differed between front and back toes, and varied seasonally. From the claw growth rate, the archiving period of a given claw length can be estimated. In long‐distance migrant species, δ13C of claws matched δ13C of feathers grown during the same period (wintering or breeding period). In Palaearctic‐African migrants sampled in the breeding season, δ13C of the distal half of the claw tip reflected the African wintering site, while the proximal half reflected a blend of African and European δ13C signatures, as expected. Hence there is empirical evidence that entire claw tips mirror the isotopic environments over longer periods (up to months), and over weeks when parts can be analysed. However any part of a claw contains a blend of material formed at different times due to the claw's conical (i.e. longitudinal and lateral) growth. Avian claws provide a complementary isotope archive for investigations, but its applicability may vary according to the ecology of the study species.
  • Parent–environmental interactions shape acoustic signatures in tree
           swallows: a cross‐fostering experiment
    • Abstract: Acoustic signatures are common components of avian vocalizations and are important for the recognition of individuals and groups. The proximate mechanisms by which these signatures develop are poorly understood, however. The development of acoustic signatures in nestling birds is of particular interest, because high rates of extra‐pair paternity or egg dumping can cause nestlings to be unrelated to at least one of the adults that are caring for them. In such cases, nestlings might conceal their genetic origins, by developing acoustic signatures through environmental rather than genetic mechanisms. In a cross‐fostering experiment with tree swallows Tachycineta bicolor, we investigated whether brood signatures of nestlings that were about to fledge were attributable to their genetic/maternal origins or to their rearing environment. We found that the calls of cross‐fostered nestlings did not vary based on their genetic/maternal origin, but did show some variation based on their rearing environment. Control nestlings that were not swapped, however, showed stronger brood signatures than either experimental group, suggesting that acoustic signatures develop through an interaction between rearing environment and genetic/maternal effects.
  • Relative contribution of lipid sources to eggs of lesser scaup
    • Abstract: Studies of how birds mobilize nutrients to eggs have traditionally considered a continuum of possible allocation strategies ranging from income breeding (rely on food sources found on the breeding grounds) to capital breeding (rely on body reserves stored prior to the breeding season). For capital breeding, stored body reserves can be acquired either on or away from the breeding grounds, but it has been difficult to quantify the relative contribution of each, precluding identification of key habitats for acquiring nutrients for clutch formation. During 2006–2009, we explored the importance of spring‐staging habitats versus breeding‐area habitats for egg‐lipid formation in female lesser scaup Aythya affinis using stable carbon (δ13C) isotope analyses. Although δ13C values for abdominal lipid reserves brought to the breeding grounds overlapped those of local amphipods, we were able to quantify the importance of local plant carbohydrates (seeds of emergent wetland plants) to the production of eggs. We compared the importance of local wetland seeds (overall δ13C: −29.1 ± 0.9‰ SD) to combined lipid stores and lipids from local amphipods (overall δ13C: −23.8 ± 2.2‰). Local seeds and stored body lipids contributed equally to egg lipid formation across years but we found evidence of annual variation in their relative importance. Wetland seeds contributed 39% (SE = 10%) to egg lipid production, and the importance of this source varied by year (90% CI = 47–75% in 2006, 13–42% in 2007, 29–65% in 2008, and 7–30% in 2009). In contrast to earlier studies that suggest lesser scaup predominantly employ a capital breeding strategy, our results suggest that in some years females may attain half of their energy for clutch formation from foods on the breeding grounds.
  • Nest site selection of a primary hole‐nesting passerine reveals
           means to developing sustainable forestry
    • Abstract: Anthropogenic habitat loss and fragmentation affect populations worldwide. For example, many bird populations of boreal forests have declined due to intensive forestry. To target conservation actions for such species, determining the key factors that affect their habitat selection is essential. Remote sensing methods provide highly potential means to measure habitat variables over large areas. We aim at identifying the key‐features of habitats by utilizing remote sensing data. As a case example, we study the nest site selection of a primary hole‐nesting passerine, the willow tit Poecile montanus, in a managed forest landscape. Using presence–absence data, we determine the most important habitat characteristics of the nest sites for three spatial scales by generalized linear mixed effect models. Our results highlight the importance of the availability of nesting sites – standing decaying deciduous trees – in the nest site selection of P. montanus. It seems to prefer moist habitats with high densities of deciduous trees and to avoid open areas, but does not require mature or intact habitats. Most of the nest site selection seems to occur within small scales. In this case, remote sensing data alone was insufficient for producing reliable models, but adding information of an ecologically important feature from direct field surveys greatly improved model performances. For the conservation and maintenance of dead wood dependent species, changes in forestry practices are necessary to keep the key characteristics of the habitat. Most importantly, continuous availability of standing decaying wood should be secured.
  • The timing of diversification within the most divergent parrot clade
    • Abstract: The Strigopidae are an ancient parrot (Psittaciformes) family consisting of three extant species placed in two genera (Nestor, Strigops) and restricted to New Zealand. Their evolutionary history is clouded because the timing of divergence events within this family has variously been attributed to Pleistocene climate change or much earlier earth‐historic events. Here we examine new psittaciform DNA sequence data, and combine them with previously published sequences, to shed light on the poorly understood timing of diversification within the Strigopidae. Using calibrations indirectly derived from both psittaciform and non‐psittaciform fossils, our data indicate a Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene (ca 1.2–3.6 mya) differentiation between the two Nestor species (kea and kaka), possibly in response to shifts in habitat distribution associated with sea level fluctuations. The unique, monotypic, nocturnal and flightless genus Strigops (kakapo) is shown to have diverged from the Nestor lineage probably ca 28–29 mya, coinciding with the potential Oligocene submergence of Zealandia when much of its landmass may have been fragmented into smaller islands, providing a setting for allopatric diversification.
  • Genetic diversity and morphological variation of the common chaffinch
           Fringilla coelebs in the Azores
    • Abstract: We present new insights into the genetic diversity and phylogeography of the common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs from the Azores, based on sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes from 44 individuals and an outgroup/comparison of 44 birds from Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Continental Western Palearctic. To understand the level of concordance between the genetic data and morphometric variability we analysed eight morphometric characters from 413 adult living birds from all the Azores islands and compared the population genetic distances with quantitative morphometric traits. Our results indicate the occurrence of gene flow among the common chaffinch populations in the archipelago revealing the lack of current genetic structure within it and the existence of two co‐occurring lineages. Results also indicate the existence of morphometric differences among islands that could be due to ecological features instead of island isolation. This study also confirms the genetic distance among the common chaffinch populations within Macaronesia and between these archipelagos and the Continental Western Palearctic.
  • Great flexibility in autumn movement patterns of European gadwalls Anas
    • Abstract: The annual migration cycle of waterbirds often involves several distinct movement stages, for example within‐winter movements or the moult migration during summer, which require a high degree of individual flexibility in migration direction. Here, we investigate whether such flexibility is a common characteristic of waterbird migration by analysing movement behaviour of a dabbling duck, the gadwall Anas strepera, during the little studied, intermediate autumn period. The tracking of individuals via satellite transmitters (n = 7) as well as the ring re‐encounter analysis of three European gadwall populations (Germany, England, Russia) revealed that autumn movements were multidirectional. Furthermore, the comparison with winter re‐encounters suggested that autumn movements were partly independent of the movements towards subsequently used south to southwestern wintering areas. Some individuals even travelled long distances north‐ or eastwards. Accordingly, some autumn locations were characterized by a harsh climate, thus serving as temporary staging sites but necessitating further movements when wetlands freeze during winter. The occurrence of such detours or reversals of migration was confirmed by the transmitter data. Inter‐individual variability in distance and direction of autumn movements was found for both sexes and age‐classes indicating that gadwalls, in general, followed flexible movement strategies. Based on the extent of multidirectional autumn movements, we hypothesize important benefits of such flights and suggest that the analysis of year‐round movement patterns of individual animals during their distinct life‐history stages is essential to understand how they can successfully reproduce and survive.
  • Anatomical bases of sex‐ and size‐related acoustic variation
           in herring gull alarm calls
    • Abstract: The hypothesis that anatomical or physiological factors can constrain the production of vocalizations is supported by an increasing number of examples from a range of taxa, where acoustic variation is related to sex, body‐size or condition. In this study, we combine anatomical and acoustic investigations in herring gulls Larus argentatus to 1) identify co‐variation between sex, body size and the dimensions of the vocal apparatus and 2) test the possible effect of this co‐variation on interindividual variation in the acoustics of alarm calls. We found that the vocal apparatus was sexually dimorphic, with males having longer trachea and bigger vibratile membranes than females. We also identified a relationship between the head–bill length – a secondary sexual trait – and the length of the trachea in males only. However, we failed to identify corresponding sex‐ and body‐size related variation in the acoustic components of alarm calls. We suggest that this absence of a relationship between anatomical and acoustic dimensions may reflect the lack of biomechanical constraints exerted during the production of alarm calls, and that such relationships are more likely to be expressed in this species’ sexual calls, whose production is characterised by more pronounced, ritualised postures that are more likely to highlight inter‐individual size variation.
  • Increased differentiation and reduced gene flow in sex chromosomes
           relative to autosomes between lineages of the brown creeper Certhia
    • Abstract: The properties of sex chromosomes, including patterns of inheritance, reduced levels of recombination, and hemizygosity in one of the sexes may result in the faster fixation of new mutations via drift and natural selection. Due to these patterns and processes, the two rules of speciation to describe the genetics of postzygotic isolation, Haldane's rule and the large‐X effect, both explicitly include quicker evolution on sex chromosomes relative to autosomes. Because sex‐linked mutations may be the first to become fixed in the speciation process, and appear to be due to stronger genetic drift (in birds), we may identify pronounced genetic differentiation in sex chromosomes in taxa experiencing recent speciation and diverging mainly via genetic drift. Here, we use nine sex‐linked and 21 autosomal genetic markers to investigate differential divergence and introgression between marker types in Certhia americana. We identified increased levels of genetic differentiation and reduced levels of gene flow on sex chromosomes relative to autosomes. This pattern is similar to those observed in other recently‐divergent avian species, providing another case study of the earlier role of sex chromosomes in divergence, relative to autosomes. Additionally, we identify three markers that may be under selection between Certhia americana lineages.
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