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  Subjects -> BIOLOGY (Total: 2835 journals)
    - BIOCHEMISTRY (212 journals)
    - BIOENGINEERING (93 journals)
    - BIOLOGY (1379 journals)
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    - BOTANY (219 journals)
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BIOLOGY (1379 journals)            First | 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | Last

Interaction Studies     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 8)
Interciencia     Open Access  
Interface Focus     Full-text available via subscription  
International Agrophysics     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Aquatic Research     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal for Computational Biology     Open Access  
International Journal for Parasitology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 11)
International Journal for Parasitology : Drugs and Drug Resistance     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Acarology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Aquatic Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 8)
International Journal of Basic, Applied and Innovative Research     Open Access  
International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Bioassays     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Biodiversity     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules     Hybrid Journal  
International Journal of Biological Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 7)
International Journal of Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Biomaterials     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Biomathematics     Hybrid Journal  
International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
International Journal of Biometrics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Brain Science     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Cell Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 6)
International Journal of Chemical and Life Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Design Engineering     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 14)
International Journal of Ecological Economics and Statistics     Full-text available via subscription  
International Journal of Ecology & Development     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Ecosystem     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Engineering Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Enteric Pathogens     Open Access  
International Journal of Evolution     Partially Free   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 11)
International Journal of Experimental and Computational Biomechanics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Genomics     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of High Throughput Screening     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Impact Engineering     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 8)
International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Insect Science     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Knowledge Discovery in Bioinformatics     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Life Science and Medical Research     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Life Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Medical Informatics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 11)
International Journal of Medical Reviews     Open Access  
International Journal of Myriapodology     Open Access  
International Journal of Nanoparticles     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Natural Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics     Partially Free   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Peptides     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Phytoremediation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Plant Genomics     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Plant Research     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Primatology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
International Journal of Proteomics     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Secondary Metabolite     Open Access  
International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Systems     Full-text available via subscription  
International Journal of Speleology     Open Access   (Followers: 9)
International Journal of Systems Biology and Biomedical Technologies     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
International Journal of Tryptophan Research     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 6)
Intervirology     Full-text available via subscription  
IntraVital     Full-text available via subscription  
Invertebrate Biology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 7)
Invertebrate Neuroscience     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 2)
Invertebrate Systematics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
Iranian Journal of Parasitology     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
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   (Followers: 2)
ITBM-RBM News     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
IUBMB Life     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
IUFS Journal of Biology     Open Access  
Izvestiya Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Izvestiya, Physics of the Solid Earth     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Japanese Journal of Applied Physics     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
JCP : BioChemical Physics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
JETP Letters     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability     Open Access  
Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics     Open Access   (Followers: 7)
Journal of Advance Researches In Biological Sciences     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Advances in Biology     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Agricultural, Biological & Environmental Statistics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)
Journal of Amino Acids     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of AOAC International     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 8)
Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research     Hybrid Journal  
Journal of Applied Bioinformatics & Computational Biology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Journal of Applied Biosciences     Open Access  
Journal of Applied Ichthyology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Journal of Applied Phycology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)

  First | 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | Last

Journal Cover   Journal of Avian Biology
  [SJR: 1.201]   [H-I: 52]   [19 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  [1597 journals]
  • Immense plasticity of timing of breeding in a sedentary forest passerine,
           Poecile palustris
    • Abstract: Numerous bird species have advanced their breeding seasons in response to climate warming. These changes were mostly brought about by phenotypic plasticity, i.e. flexible reactions of individual birds, rather than by microevolutionary change. Knowing the limits of plasticity is thus of paramount importance in any attempt to predict possible reactions of birds to climate warming. However, the breeding performance of the same individuals in contrasting environmental conditions, necessary to answer this question, is rarely observed. Here, we provide data on the flexibility in timing of egg‐laying of individual Marsh Tit Poecile palustris females breeding in an extremely late (2013) and early (2014) spring in Białowieża National Park (Poland). In both years the birds stayed in the same places in the primeval old‐growth forest, free of direct human influences (no nest‐boxes, no additional food). The weather variation was within the range of conditions observed during 40 years in the study area, and no climate warming occurred in the Marsh Tit's pre‐breeding period. Females (n = 16) shifted the onset of laying by 13‐23 (median = 20) days between the seasons. This range of individual flexibility encompasses almost the whole latitudinal range of the breeding dates found across Europe. Such a buffer of plasticity would probably be sufficient for Marsh Tits to adjust the onset of egg‐laying to the forecasted range of climate change. A combination of temperature and photoperiod appears to be involved in fine tuning of the birds’ breeding times with spring conditions, but how the birds asses and integrate this information remains poorly understood. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-07-01T02:26:37.34386-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00733
       
  • Investigating how telomere dynamics, growth and life history covary along
           an elevation gradient in two passerine species
    • Abstract: Telomeres are specialized non‐coding DNA sequences that cap the end of chromosomes and protect genome integrity. Because telomeres shorten during development and their length at maturity is often associated with survival, one hypothesis is that telomere erosion during early growth is closely associated with life history trajectories of individuals and species. Elevation gradients lead to systematic changes in environmental factors, and thus they provide unique opportunities to explore how life history trajectories and telomere dynamics can covary under various environmental conditions. Here, we address this question in chicks of two tit species distributed foremost at low elevation (the great tit, Parus major) or at high elevation (the coal tit, Periparus ater). With increasing elevation, great tits showed delayed breeding, and their chicks a slower development, higher telomere erosion and shorter telomere length at day 16. Although coal tit parents delayed also their breeding with increasing elevation, their chicks had a faster development, higher telomere erosion but no reduced telomere length at day 16. This last result is explained by coal tit chicks having longer telomeres at day 7 at high than low elevation, thus mitigating effects of fast telomere erosion before fledging. Our findings on life histories support the idea that great tits and coal tits are best adapted to low and high elevation, respectively. Our data on telomere provide however no support for a direct link between early growth rate and telomere dynamics, but underline complex interplays between telomere dynamics and environmental conditions experienced early in life, thereby urging for studies identifying how early life conditions actually determine fledgling's telomere length. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-07-01T02:26:20.812894-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00714
       
  • Light‐level geolocators reveal migratory connectivity in European
           populations of pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca
    • Authors: J. Ouwehand; M.P. Ahola, A.N.M.A. Ausems, E.S. Bridge, M. Burgess, S. Hahn, C. Hewson, R.H.G. Klaassen, T. Laaksonen, H.M. Lampe, W. Velmala, C. Both
      Abstract: Understanding what drives or prevents long‐distance migrants to respond to environmental change requires basic knowledge about the wintering and breeding grounds, and the timing of movements between them. Both strong and weak migratory connectivity have been reported for Palearctic passerines wintering in Africa, but this remains unknown for most species. We investigated whether pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca from different breeding populations also differ in wintering locations in West‐Africa. Light‐level geolocator data revealed that flycatchers from different breeding populations travelled to different wintering sites, despite similarity in routes during most of the autumn migration. We found support for strong migratory connectivity showing an unexpected pattern: individuals breeding in Fennoscandia (S‐Finland and S‐Norway) wintered further west compared to individuals breeding at more southern latitudes in the Netherlands and SW‐United Kingdom. The same pattern was found in ring recovery data from sub‐Saharan Africa of individuals with confirmed breeding origin. Furthermore, population‐specific migratory connectivity was associated with geographical variation in breeding and migration phenology: birds from populations which breed and migrate earlier wintered further east than birds from ‘late’ populations. There was no indication that wintering locations were affected by geolocation deployment, as we found high repeatability and consistency in δ13C and δ15N stable isotope ratios of winter grown feathers of individuals with and without a geolocator. We discuss the potential ecological factors causing such an unexpected pattern of migratory connectivity. We hypothesise that population differences in wintering longitudes of pied flycatchers result from geographical variation in breeding phenology and the timing of fuelling for spring migration at the wintering grounds. Future research should aim at describing how temporal dynamics in food availability across the wintering range affects migration, wintering distribution and populations’ capacity to respond to environmental changes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29T02:37:03.525598-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00721
       
  • Calibrating the molecular clock beyond cytochrome b: assessing the
           evolutionary rate of COI in birds
    • Abstract: Estimating the age of species or their component lineages based on sequence data is crucial for many studies in avian evolutionary biology. Although calibrations of the molecular clock in birds have been performed almost exclusively using cytochrome b (cyt b), they are commonly extrapolated to other mitochondrial genes. The existence of a large, standardized cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) library generated as a result of the DNA barcoding initiative provides the opportunity to obtain a calibration for this mitochondrial gene in birds. In this study we compare the evolutionary rate of COI relative to cyt b across ten different avian orders. We obtained divergence estimates for both genes from nearly 300 phylogenetically independent pairs of species through the analysis of almost 5000 public sequences. For each pair of species we calculated the difference in divergence between COI and cyt b. Our results indicate that COI evolves on average 14% slower than cyt b, but also reveal considerable variation both among and within avian orders, precluding the use of this value as a standard adjustment for the COI molecular clock for birds. Our findings suggest that this variation is partially explained by a clear negative relationship between the difference in divergence in these genes and the age of species. Distances for cyt b are higher than those for COI for closely related species, but the values become similar as the divergence between the species increases. This appears to be the result of a stronger pattern of negative time‐dependency in the rate of cyt b than in that of COI, a difference that could be related to lower functional constraints on a small number of sites in cyt b that allow it to initially accumulate mutations more rapidly than COI. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29T02:36:47.477021-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00766
       
  • Elevating perceived predation risk modifies the relationship between
           parental effort and song complexity in the song sparrow (Melospiza
           melodia)
    • Authors: Melissa L. Grunst; John T. Rotenberry, Andrea S. Grunst
      Abstract: Adult‐directed predation risk elevates costs of parental care, and may thus modify relationships between sexually selected ornaments and parental effort by accentuating the tradeoff between survival and parental investment. We assessed multiple hypotheses regarding the relationship between maternal effort, paternal effort, and the sexually selected trait of male song complexity in the song sparrow (Melospiza melodia). Further, we explored whether experimentally elevating perceived adult‐directed predation risk near nests affected these relationships. We quantified two dimensions of song complexity: song repertoire size and residual syllable number (the relative number of syllables for a given song repertoire size). Under elevated perceived predation risk, but not in the absence of the predator stimuli, females mated to males with higher residual syllable number displayed higher nestling provisioning rates and performed a higher proportion of nestling provisioning trips. In other words, elevating perceived predation risk induced a pattern of maternal investment consistent with differential allocation. In contrast, under elevated perceived predation risk, only, females performed a lesser proportion of provisioning trips when mated to males with large song repertoire sizes. Further, consistent with the good parent hypothesis, males with large song repertoire sizes displayed lower latencies to return to the nest, independent of the predator stimuli. Results suggest that residual syllable number may reflect some aspect of male genetic quality, such that females are more willing to maintain maternal effort while facing heightened predation risk. On the other hand, females may gain paternal benefits when mated to males with large song repertoires. Our study supports the hypothesis that increased costs of parental care associated with predation risk may induce relationships between sexually selected traits and parental behavior, which may increase the strength of sexual selection. Additionally, results suggest that different aspects of song complexity may fulfill non‐equivalent signaling roles. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29T02:36:32.918097-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00758
       
  • WHY RENEW FRESH FEATHERS? ADVANTAGES AND CONDITIONS FOR THE EVOLUTION
           OF COMPLETE POST‐JUVENILE MOULT
    • Authors: Yosef Kiat; Ido Izhaki
      Abstract: Juveniles of several passerine species renew all of their fresh juvenile feathers immediately after fledging (complete post‐juvenile moult), in contrast to the majority, which perform a partial post‐juvenile moult. To understand the adaptive roles of this phenomenon we compared the quality of juvenile plumage in species that perform a complete post‐juvenile moult with that of species which perform a partial post‐juvenile moult; we similarly compared juveniles and adults in each of these groups. The quality of feathers was measured by mass of primaries, colour, and length. In species which perform a complete post‐juvenile moult the plumage quality of second‐year individuals, in their first breeding season, is similar to the plumage quality of adults, unlike those species that perform a partial post‐juvenile moult. In species which perform complete post‐juvenile moult, the quality of the feathers grown in the nest is lower than the quality of adult post‐breeding feathers. In contrast, in species which perform partial post‐juvenile moult the quality of the feathers grown in the nest is similar to that of adult post‐breeding feathers. We found that a complete post‐juvenile moult strategy is much more common (1) in residents and short‐distance migrants than in long‐distance migrants, (2) in southern latitudes, (3) in species with medium body mass and (4) in omnivores and granivores. Our results indicate two adaptive roles of the complete post‐juvenile moult strategy: (I) achieving high quality plumage in the first year which may increase individual survival probability and fitness and (II) allocating fewer resources to nestling plumage and more to nestling development, which enables the nestlings to leave the nest earlier, thus reducing the probability of encountering nest predators. We suggest that the complete post‐juvenile moult, immediately after fledging, is an optimal strategy in favourable habitats and under low time constraints, as in some tropical ecosystems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-18T02:12:32.136712-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00717
       
  • Experimental manipulation of food availability leads to short‐term
           intra‐clutch adjustment in egg mass but not in yolk androgen or
           thyroid hormones
    • Authors: Suvi Ruuskanen; Veerle M. Darras, Bonnie de Vries, Marcel E. Visser, Ton G.G. Groothuis
      Abstract: In birds, mothers can affect their offspring's phenotype and thereby survival via egg composition. It is not well known to what extent and time‐scales environmental variation in resource availability, either via resource constrains or adaptive adjustment to predicted rearing conditions, influences maternal effects. We experimentally studied whether egg and yolk mass and yolk hormone levels respond to short‐term changes in food availability during laying in wild great tits (Parus major). Our treatment groups were: 1) food supplementation (mealworms) from the 1st until the last egg; 2) food supplementation from the 1st first until the 5th egg, where the effect of cessation of the supplementary food treatment could also be studied; 3) no food supplementation (controls). We analysed both nutritional resources (egg, yolk and albumen mass), and the important developmental signals, yolk androgens (testosterone and androstenedione), and for the first time in a wild population, yolk thyroid hormones (thyroxine and 3,5,3’‐triiodothyronine). Egg mass is a costly resource for females, androgens most likely non‐costly signals, whereas thyroid hormones may be costly signals, requiring environmental iodine. In the food supplemented group egg, yolk and albumen mass increased rapidly relative to controls and when food supplementation was halted, egg and albumen mass decreased, indicating rapid responses to resource availability. Yolk androgen and thyroid hormone levels were not affected by food supplementation during laying. Thyroxine showed an increase over the laying sequence and its biological meaning needs further study. The rapid changes in egg mass to variation in within‐clutch food availability suggest energetic/protein/nutrient constrains on egg formation. The lack of a response in yolk hormones suggest that perhaps in this species the short‐term changes in resource availability during egg laying do not predict offspring rearing conditions, or (for thyroid hormones) do not cause systemic changes in circulating hormones, and hence do not affect maternal signaling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-18T02:11:15.789834-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00728
       
  • Cold tolerance, and not earlier arrival on breeding grounds, explains
           why males winter further north in an Arctic‐breeding songbird
    • Authors: Christie A. MacDonald; Emily A. McKinnon, H. Grant Gilchrist, Oliver P. Love
      Abstract: Sex biases in distributions of migratory birds during the non‐breeding season are widespread; however, the proximate mechanisms contributing to broad‐scale sex‐ratio variation are not well understood. We analyzed a long‐term winter‐banding dataset in combination with spring migration data from individuals tracked by using geolocators to test three hypotheses for observed variation in sex‐ratios in wintering flocks of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis). We quantified relevant weather conditions in winter (temperature, snowfall and snow depth) at each banding site each year and measured body size and condition (fat scores) of individual birds (n >5500). We also directly measured spring migration distance for 17 individuals by using light‐level geolocators. If the distribution pattern of birds in winter is related to interactions between individual body size and thermoregulation, then larger bodied birds (males) should be found in colder sites (body size hypothesis). Males may also winter closer to breeding grounds to reduce migration distance for early arrival at breeding sites (arrival timing hypothesis). Finally, males may be socially dominant over females, and thus exclude females from high‐quality wintering sites (social dominance hypothesis). We found support for the body size hypothesis, in that colder and snowier weather predicted both larger body size and higher proportions of males banded. Direct tracking revealed that males did not winter significantly closer to their breeding site, despite being slightly further north on average than females from the same breeding population. We found some evidence for social dominance, in that females tended to carry more fat than males, potentially indicating lower habitat quality for females. Global climatic warming may reduce temperature constraints on females and smaller‐bodied males, resulting in broad‐scale changes in distributional patterns. Whether this has repercussions for individual fitness, and therefore population demography, is an important area of future research. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-10T10:44:53.663048-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00689
       
  • Genetic divergence of Troglodytes troglodytes islandicus from other
           subspecies of Eurasian Wren in Northwestern Europe
    • Abstract: The Icelandic subspecies of Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes islandicus has been described as a large wren which is sedentary on the island. It is one member of a large passerine complex which is widely distributed over the Holarctic except the Arctic. The taxonomic affiliation of the subspecies is mainly based on variation in plumage and on the song complexity. This study investigated the genetic differentiation of T. t. islandicus among the Eurasian Wren subspecies in Northwestern Europe, and especially in relation to its geographically proximate populations in the Faroe Islands, Scotland, Southern Norway, Sweden and Denmark. T. t. islandicus and the Faroese subspecies (T. t. borealis) were genetically differentiated from the other subspecies (T. t. indigenus and T. t. troglodytes) with an estimated time of divergence from this group during the last glacial maximum; 21 thousand years before present (KYBP) [44‐8]. A clear but a more recent split was observed between T. t. islandicus and T. t. borealis 12 KYBP [28‐4]. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-06-10T10:22:46.472332-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00744
       
  • Fine‐scale habitat use during the non‐breeding season suggests
           that winter habitat does not limit breeding populations of a declining
           long‐distance Palearctic migrant
    • Authors: Emma Blackburn; Will Cresswell
      Abstract: For migrant birds, what habitats are suitable during the non‐breeding season influences habitat availability, population resilience to habitat loss, and ultimately survival. Consequently, habitat preferences during winter and whether habitat segregation according to age and sex occurs directly influences migration ecology, survival and breeding success. We tested the fine‐scale habitat preferences of a declining Palearctic migrant, the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, on its wintering grounds in West Africa. We explored the influence of habitat at the territory‐scale and whether dominance‐based habitat occupancy occurs by describing the variation in habitat characteristics across wintering territories, the degree of habitat change within territories held throughout winter, and whether habitat characteristics influenced territory size and space‐use within territories or differed with age and sex. Habitat characteristics varied substantially across territories and birds maintained the same territories even though habitat changed significantly throughout winter. We found no evidence of dominance‐based habitat occupancy; instead, territories were smaller if they contained more perching shrubs or maize crops, and areas with more perching shrubs were used more often within territories, likely because perches are important for foraging and territory defence. Our findings suggest that Whinchats have non‐specialised habitat requirements within their wintering habitat of open savannah and farmland, and respond to habitat variation by adjusting territory size and space‐use within territories instead of competing with conspecifics. Whinchats show a tolerance for human‐modified habitats and results support previous findings that some crop types may provide high‐quality wintering habitat by increasing perch density and foraging opportunities. By having non‐specialised requirements within broad winter habitat types, migrants are likely to be flexible to changing wintering conditions in Africa, both within and across winters, so possibly engendering some resilience to the rapid anthropogenic habitat degradation occurring throughout their wintering range. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-27T10:13:54.448465-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00738
       
  • Space‐time tradeoffs in the development of precipitation‐based
           isoscape models for determining migratory origin
    • Authors: Hannah B. Zanden; Michael B. Wunder, Keith A. Hobson, Steven L. Wilgenburg, Leonard I. Wassenaar, Jeffrey M. Welker, Gabriel J. Bowen
      Abstract: Precipitation stable isotope patterns over continental scales provide a fundamental tool for tracking origins of migratory species. Hydrogen isotopes from rain and environmental waters are assimilated into animal tissues and may thereby reveal the location where tissues were synthesized. Predictive isotopic maps (or isoscapes) of stable hydrogen isotope values in precipitation (δ2Hp) are typically generated by time‐averaging observations from a global network of stations that have been sampled irregularly in space and time. We previously demonstrated that restricting the temporal range in δ2Hp isoscapes to biologically relevant time frames did not improve predictions of geographic origin for two migratory species in North America and Europe; rather, it decreased the accuracy of assignment. Here, we examined whether the reduction in assignment accuracy stemmed from a decrease in the number of sampling stations available to support isoscape development for shorter time periods. Multiple regression models were used to predict the hydrogen isotope composition in precipitation using isotopic measurements from each station along with a suite of independent variables. The reduction in the number of stations with δ2Hp measurements used to estimate isoscape model parameters did not alter the accuracy and precision of assignments consistently. We also examined accuracy across a range of reduced station numbers and found that mean accuracy was affected only at very low numbers of stations, indicating that the spatial isotopic patterns in precipitation that are useful for assignment applications can be characterized with data from relatively limited data stations. The number and spatial distribution of stations may have more influence when geostatistical models are used to generate isoscapes, as they incorporate spatial correlation in the dataset. The results can be used to guide future research in understanding how data availability and constraints in creating δ2Hp isoscapes may affect predictions of geographic origins. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-27T10:13:21.187725-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00656
       
  • Egg temperature and initial brood patch area determine hatching asynchrony
           in Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus
    • Authors: Barrionuevo Melina; Esteban Frere
      Abstract: In birds, the adaptive significance of hatching asynchrony has been under debate for many years and the parental effects on hatching asynchrony have been largely assumed but not often tested. Some authors suggest that hatching asynchrony depends on the incubation onset and many factors have been shown to influence hatching asynchrony in different species. Our objective was to analyze the exact timing of the onset of incubation and if this affects hatching asynchrony; and, in addition, which other factors (brood patch development, incubation position, adult body condition, intra‐clutch egg dimorphism, laying date and year) affect hatching asynchrony in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). We first estimated the eggshell temperature at which embryo development starts, with a non‐destructive and novel method. We then recorded individual egg temperatures in 61 nests during incubation, and related them, and other breeding parameters, to hatching asynchrony. We also observed incubation positions in 307 nests. We found a significant positive relationship between hatching asynchrony and the temperature that the first‐laid egg experienced during egg laying and between hatching asynchrony and the initial brood patch area. We also found a negative relationship between hatching asynchrony and the difference in temperature between second and first‐laid eggs within a clutch, measured after the egg‐laying period was finished. We ruled out position of the eggs during incubation, adult body condition, egg volume, laying date, and study year as factors influencing hatching asynchrony. The egg temperature during laying and the difference in temperature between eggs of a clutch are determinants of hatching asynchrony in Magellanic Penguins. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-27T10:13:09.190683-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00662
       
  • Faster spring migration in northern wheatears is not explained by an
           endogenous seasonal difference in refueling rates
    • Authors: Cas Eikenaar; Arseny Tsvey, Heiko Schmaljohann
      Abstract: A widespread phenomenon in migrant birds is that they travel faster in spring than in autumn. During migration birds spend most time at stopover sites and, correspondingly, the faster spring migration is mainly explained by shorter stopovers in spring than autumn. Because a main purpose of stopovers is to replenish the fuel used in flight, a higher rate of fuel deposition (FDR) in spring is thought to explain the shorter stopovers and hence shorter total duration of migration in spring. Critical migratory processes, including the onset and extent of pre‐migratory fueling, are endogenously regulated. It is therefore not unlikely that refueling at stopover sites is, at least partly, also under endogenous control. We here tested whether there is an endogenous seasonal difference in food intake and FDR, which could contribute to shorter stopovers and hence faster migration in spring. We measured daily food intake and daily FDR in two subspecies of the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), temporarily confined at stopover under identical constant indoor conditions in spring and autumn. The two wheatear subspecies differed markedly in absolute food intake and FDR. Within subspecies, however, food intake and FDR did not differ between spring and autumn, indicating that faster spring migration in northern wheatears is not explained by an endogenously controlled seasonal difference in birds’ motivation to refuel. To further substantiate this claim, similar measurements should be taken at other locations along northern wheatears’ migration routes. Comparable experiments in other species could test the generality of our results. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-27T10:12:53.870344-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00734
       
  • Synchronization of laying by great spotted cuckoos and recognition ability
           of magpies
    • Abstract: Brood parasites rely entirely on the parental care of host species to raise the parasitic nestlings until independence. The reproductive success of avian brood parasites depends on finding host nests at a suitable stage (i.e. during egg laying) for parasitism and weakly defensive (i.e. non‐ejector) hosts. Finding appropriate nests for parasitism may, however, vary depending on ecological conditions, including parasite abundance in the area, which also varies from one year to another and therefore may influence coevolutionary relationships between brood parasites and their hosts. In this scenario, we explored: (i) the degree of laying synchronization between great spotted cuckoos (Clamator glandarius) and magpies (Pica pica) during two breeding seasons, which varied in the level of selection pressure due to brood parasitism (i.e. parasitism rate); (ii) magpie responses to natural parasitism in the pre‐laying period and successfulness of parasitic eggs laid at this stage; and (iii) magpie responses to experimental parasitism performed at different breeding stages. We found that, during the year of higher parasitism rate, there was an increase in the percentage of parasitic eggs laid before magpies started laying. However, the synchronization of laying was poor both years regardless of the differences in the parasitism rate. The ejection rate was significantly higher during the pre‐egg‐laying and the post‐hatching stages than during the laying stage, and hatching success of parasitic eggs laid during the pre‐egg‐laying stage was zero. Thus, non‐synchronized parasitic eggs are wasted and therefore poor synchronization should be penalized by natural selection. We discuss four different hypotheses explaining poor synchronization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-13T07:08:07.676253-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00627
       
  • Common loon parents defend chicks according to both value and
           vulnerability
    • Authors: Walter Piper; Gabriella Jukkala
      Abstract: In many territorial breeders, conspecifics that intrude during the chick‐rearing period pose a threat to survival of young. Defense of young from intruders is costly to parents, so it is likely that intense selective pressure has shaped chick defense so as to maximize parental fitness. We simulated territorial intrusion by exposing adult common loons (Gavia immer) and their chicks to a decoy and used mixed models to investigate responses. We tested two hypotheses: 1) the value hypothesis, which holds that parents should defend large broods of offspring more strongly because of the greater potential fitness benefits they offer, and 2) the vulnerability hypothesis, which predicts vigorous defense of young offspring, whose small size and limited mobility render them vulnerable to sudden attacks from intruders that approach under water. Under natural conditions, parents spent over 80% of their time within 20 meters of chicks younger than two weeks (“young chicks”) but 66% or less of their time close to chicks four weeks or older (“old chicks”). Parents of young chicks associated less with the decoy but yodelled and penguin danced more during decoy trials than did parents of old chicks, supporting the conclusion that the parents protected young chicks not by engaging intruders directly but by remaining close to chicks and using vocalization and display to keep intruders at a distance. While these findings lent clear support to the vulnerability hypothesis, the value hypothesis too was supported, as males with two‐chick broods were almost three times more likely to yodel than males with singleton chicks. Age of parents was not associated with any aspect of chick defense, but the paucity of known‐aged parents in the oldest age classes makes future investigation of age effects warranted. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-08T23:41:00.818374-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00648
       
  • An evaluation of different methods for assessing eggshell pigmentation and
           pigment concentration using great tit eggs
    • Abstract: The striking variation in colour and maculation of bird eggs has fascinated biologists since centuries, and many hypotheses based on mechanical, physiological or signalling functions have been proposed for its evolution by natural and sexual selection. Protoporphyrin is the main eggshell pigment found in brown maculated eggs, and is assumed to function as a mediator of these selection processes. It is a precursor of heme with pro‐oxidant properties, and hence a link between brown maculation and female condition has been proposed and tested in a number of studies, albeit with contrasting results. A variety of different visual methods have been used to quantify outer eggshell pigmentation, which has been assumed to correspond to overall quantity of protoporphyrin in the shell. Yet, this relationship has rarely been tested. The aim of this study was to apply four commonly used methods to assess pigmentation in great tit eggs with protoporphyrin as the predominant eggshell pigment, and to compare the results of these methods. Specifically, we i) ranked eggshell pigmentation by human naked eye, ii) applied a granularity approach and iii) measured spectrophotometric reflectance of eggshell pigments. Second, we estimated the relationship between outer eggshell pigmentation (i.e. estimated by three different methods above) and true protoporphyrin concentration deposited in the entire shell measured by HPLC. Among‐method estimates were significantly correlated for the traits describing pigment ‘darkness’ only. While the model including scores based on human naked eyes explained 16 % of the variance of pigment concentration in the entire shell, spectrometry explained 27 %, and the granularity approach explained 40 %. Thus, the estimation of true pigment concentration in the entire shell from the visible outer side of the shell is most reliable with the granularity approach. It is relevant for studies where the maintenance of the integrity of the eggs is essential. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-08T23:40:50.967917-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00495
       
  • Revealing unexpected uses of space by wintering Aquila pomarina: how does
           satellite telemetry identify behaviour at different scales'
    • Abstract: Little is understood about the dispersion and movements of Palaearctic migrant raptors while wintering in southern Africa. The high temporal and spatial resolution of GPS telemetry data provided the opportunity to describe how space is used by one such migratory raptor in its wintering range, the lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina. Kernel density estimation was used to map the distribution of three individuals at various spatial scales. In addition to their extremely large overall wintering range (up to 112 000 km2), three finer levels of spatial concentration were identified: favoured activity zones where the birds spent much of the winter, smaller core areas to which the birds returned each year, and tiny intensive foraging clusters. Philopatry was demonstrated by one bird which revisited core areas over eight wintering seasons. The same core areas, particularly the Waterberg, Grootfontein (Namibia) and the eastern and western sides of the Okavango Delta (Botswana), were visited by two other eagles in 2012/2013, although not simultaneously. Such results potentially provide important information on areas where conservation activities might be focused to mitigate human degradation of habitat. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-05-08T23:40:38.21829-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00670
       
  • Individual seabirds show consistent foraging strategies in response to
           predictable fisheries discards
    • Authors: Samantha C. Patrick; Stuart Bearhop, Thomas W. Bodey, W. James Grecian, Keith C. Hamer, Janette Lee, Stephen C. Votier
      Abstract: Current fishing extraction methods often generate huge quantities of dead or dying biomass that is returned to the sea in the form of discards. This practice produces a readily available clumped resource for many scavengers such as seabirds, but in the face of declining stocks and via policy change, the amount of discards produced is set to decline in the future. To understand how discards have influenced seabird foraging in the past and how birds may respond to future change requires studies examining consistent individual foraging choices. There is increasing evidence that populations may be made up of generalist or specialist foragers and this is key to the population's ability to adapt to change. Here we test for consistent individual foraging behaviour of northern gannets Morus bassanus in relation to fishing vessels and examine consequences of scavenging behaviour in terms of foraging effort and body condition. Using a combination of bird‐borne bio‐logging devices (GPS and Time Depth Recorders) with high resolution GPS data acquired through vessel monitoring systems on fishing boats, we examined the overlap between birds and fisheries. We found that during repeat foraging trips in the same breeding season, gannets regularly foraged at fishing boats but there were also clear among individual differences in the extent of fisheries overlap. Furthermore, we show for the first time that these differences represent consistent strategies – individual differences in scavenging were highly repeatable across multiple trips within a period of several weeks. However, despite this finding, we found no differences in foraging effort or body condition between scavengers and non‐scavengers. Moreover, scavenging strategy did not appear to influence diving behaviour or vary by sex. Scavenging on discards appears to be a strategy employed consistently by a subsection of the population and future work should examine whether these specialisations persist throughout and between years and what causes these individual differences, exploring possible demographic and fitness consequences in light of global changes to fish stocks and fisheries management.
      PubDate: 2015-04-20T05:21:00.2886-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00660
       
  • Novel insights into relationships between egg corticosterone and timing of
           breeding revealed by LC‐MS/MS
    • Abstract: Inter‐ and intra‐clutch variation in egg corticosterone (CORT), the major glucocorticoid in birds, may provide insights into how maternal stress levels vary with the timing of breeding and with laying order. Common analytical methods (e.g. immunoassays), however, suffer from cross‐reaction with other steroids, leading to potential overestimation of CORT concentrations which can obscure true hormone‐environment relationships and complicate among‐study comparisons. We here apply a new LC‐MS/MS technique, which has recently been shown to avoid the problem of cross‐reactivity due to its high specificity, to quantify CORT concentrations in yolk and albumen in clutches of lesser black‐backed gulls (Larus fuscus). We found that CORT concentration exhibited a previously unreported U‐shaped relationship with time of breeding, which we explain as a potential interplay of two forces, exerting extra strain on the early and late breeders. Furthermore, results showed an increase in CORT with laying order indicating the energetic expense of egg production. The levels of CORT assessed in this study were significantly lower than those previously reported in studies using immunoassays for CORT analysis. This supports the fact that incorporating chromatography effectively reduces overestimation of CORT due to cross‐reactivity with other steroid hormones, particularly in egg yolk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-17T03:40:35.526558-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00735
       
  • The effect of kleptoparasite and host numbers on the risk of
           food‐stealing in an avian assemblage
    • Abstract: Kleptoparasitism involves the theft of resources such as food items from one individual by another. Such food‐stealing behaviour can have important consequences for birds, in terms of individual fitness and population sizes. In order to understand avian host‐kleptoparasite interactions, studies are needed which identify the factors which modulate the risk of kleptoparasitism. In temperate European intertidal areas, Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) feed primarily on bivalve molluscs, which may be stolen by kleptoparasitic species such as carrion crows (Corvus corone) and herring gulls (Larus argentatus). In this study we combined overwinter foraging observations of oystercatchers and their kleptoparasites on the Exe Estuary, UK, with statistical modelling to identify the factors that influence the likelihood of successful food stealing behaviour occurring. Across the winter, 16.4 % of oystercatcher foraging attempts ended in successful kleptoparasitism; the risk of theft was lowest in February (10.8 %) and highest in December (36.3 %). Using an information theoretic approach to compare multiple logistic regression models we present evidence that the outcome of host foraging attempts varied with the number of kleptoparasites per host within the foraging patch for two out of five individual months, and for all months grouped. Successful, kleptoparasitism was more likely to occur when the total number of all kleptoparasites per host was greater. Across the entire winter study period, oystercatcher foraging attempts that resulted in kleptoparasitism were associated with a mean number of kleptoparasites per host that was more than double that for foraging attempts that ended in the oystercatcher successfully consuming the mussel. Conversely, the stage of the tidal cycle within the estuary did not affect the outcome of oystercatcher foraging attempts. Our study provides evidence that bird numbers influence the risk of kleptoparasitism within avian assemblages. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-17T03:40:24.907426-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00705
       
  • Individual migration patterns of Eurasian golden plovers Pluvialis
           apricaria breeding in Swedish Lapland; examples of cold
           spell‐induced winter movements
    • Abstract: Tracking studies normally focus on long‐distance migrants, meaning that our understanding about short‐distance migration remains limited. In this study, we present the first individual tracks of the Eurasian golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, a short‐distance migrant, which were tracked from a Scandinavian breeding population using geolocators. In addition, golden plovers are known for their cold spell‐induced winter movements, and this study provides some first individual tracking data on this type of movements. In three cases the plovers spent the winter in NW Europe and in four cases they departed during winter from NW Europe to spend the rest of the winter in Iberia or Morocco (one bird that was tracked during two subsequent migration cycles moved to Iberia in the first winter but remained in NW Europe during the second winter). The four winter departures were associated with a cold spell in NW Europe during which maximum temperatures dropped to freezing. Cold spell‐induced winter movements were notably long and fast. The birds that remained at their NW European wintering site did not experience such cold spell. Interestingly, the individual that was tracked for a second season did experience four cold spells at its wintering site in NW France, but it never left this area, indicating that plovers not always move on in response to cold. Little information was obtained about spring migration, but one bird had a prominent counter‐clockwise loop migration pattern through E Europe. Due to their cold spell winter movements, golden plovers exhibit great flexibility in migration patterns, resulting in a notably large spread in final wintering areas. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-17T03:39:41.384834-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00768
       
  • Impacts of nest predators and weather on reproductive success and
           population limitation in a long‐distance migratory songbird
    • Authors: Thomas W. Sherry; Scott Wilson, Sarah Hunter, Richard T. Holmes
      Abstract: Although avian nesting success is much studied, little is known about the relative importance of the factors that contribute to annual reproductive success and population limitation, especially for long‐distance migratory songbird species. We combined a field experiment limiting access to nests by mammalian predators with modeling of long‐term field data of American redstarts (Parulidae: Setophaga ruticilla) to assess the effects of multiple environmental variables on breeding success and population limitation. Experimental treatment (baffles placed around tree boles beneath active nests; N = 71) increased nesting success of this single‐brooded species significantly (77% vs. 50% in controls; N = 343), demonstrating that scansorial mammals, primarily red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), reduced reproductive success. Based on unbaffled nests (N = 466), daily nest survival varied annually, and was positively influenced by May temperature and negatively by sciurid nest predator abundance. Daily nest survival was also influenced positively by June rainfall, and declined with nest age but not with calendar date. Since nest failure was overwhelmingly caused by nest predation, these significant climate and nest‐age effects in our models are indirect, likely influencing nest predator and/or nesting bird behaviors that in turn influenced nest predation. Redstart population density had no effect on nesting success, after accounting for other factors. Annual reproductive success accounted for 34% of the variability in annual population change in redstarts in our study area. Our findings document 1) breeding season population limitation in this species, 2) a link between tree masting and bird population dynamics via mammal population fluctuations, 3) the independent contributions of summer versus winter population processes in a migratory species, and 4) the potential complexity of climate‐biotic interactions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-16T03:22:58.453242-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00536
       
  • Does fragmentation of wetlands affect gene flow in sympatric Acrocephalus
           warblers with different migration strategies?
    • Abstract: Wetlands are naturally patchy habitats, but patchiness has been accentuated by the extensive wetlands loss due to human activities. In such a fragmented habitat, dispersal ability is especially important to maintain gene flow between populations. Here we studied population structure, genetic diversity and demographic history of Iberian and North African populations of two wetland passerines, the Eurasian reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus and the moustached warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon. These species are closely related and sympatric in our study sites, but the reed warbler is a widespread long‐distance migrant while the moustached warbler's breeding range is patchier and it is resident or migrates over short distances. Using microsatellite and mtDNA data, we found higher differentiation in moustached than in reed warblers, indicating higher dispersal capability of the latter species. Our results also suggest that the sea limits dispersal in the moustached warbler. However, we found evidence of gene flow between the study sites in both species, indicating a capability to compensate for habitat fragmentation. In most cases, the gene flow was restricted, possibly because of the large distances between study sites (from c. 290 to 960 km) or breeding site fidelity. The reed warbler had higher haplotype diversity, likely due to dispersal from different populations, past admixture event and a larger population size. We found also signs of postglacial population growth for both species and evidence of a recent colonization or re‐colonization of the Mallorca Island by the moustached warbler. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-16T03:22:38.770315-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00589
       
  • Re‐colonization by common eiders (Somateria mollissima) in the
           Aleutian Archipelago following removal of introduced arctic foxes (Vulpes
           lagopus)
    • Authors: Margaret R. Petersen; G. Vernon Byrd, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Matthew G. Sexson
      Abstract: Islands provide refuges for populations of many species where they find safety from predators, but the introduction of predators frequently results in elimination or dramatic reductions in island‐dwelling organisms. When predators are removed, re‐colonization for some species occurs naturally, and inter‐island phylogeographic relationships and current movement patterns can illuminate processes of colonization. We studied a case of re‐colonization of common eiders (Somateria mollissima) following removal of introduced arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in the Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska. We expected common eiders to resume nesting on islands cleared of foxes and to re‐colonize from nearby islets, islands, and island groups. We thus expected common eiders to show limited genetic structure indicative of extensive mixing among island populations. Satellite telemetry was used to record current movement patterns of female common eiders from six islands across three island groups. We collected genetic data from these and other nesting common eiders at 14 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA control region to examine population genetic structure, historical fluctuations in population demography, and gene flow. Our results suggest recent interchange among islands. Analysis of microsatellite data supports satellite telemetry data of increased dispersal of common eiders to nearby areas and little between island groups. Although evidence from mtDNA is suggestive of female dispersal among island groups, gene flow is insufficient to account for recolonization and rapid population growth. Instead, near‐by remnant populations of common eiders contributed substantially to population expansion, without which re‐colonization would have likely occurred at a much lower rate. Genetic and morphometric data of common eiders within one island group two and three decades after re‐colonization suggests reduced movement of eiders among islands and little movement between island groups after populations were re‐established. We predict that re‐colonization of an island group where all common eiders are extirpated could take decades. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-16T03:22:26.999708-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00626
       
  • No change in common cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitism and great reed
           warblers' Acrocephalus arundinaceus egg rejection after seven decades
    • Abstract: The coevolutionary process among avian brood parasites and their hosts involves stepwise changes induced by the antagonistic selection pressures of one on the other. As long‐term data on an evolutionary scale is almost impossible to obtain, most studies can only show snapshots of such processes. Information on host behaviour, such as changes in egg rejection rates and the methods of rejection are scarce. In Hungary there is an interesting case between the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) and the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), where the level of parasitism is unusually high (around 50%). We compared host rejection rates and methods of rejection from within our own project to that of an early study carried out and published almost 70 years ago in the same region. Our comparisons revealed high and stable rates of parasitism (range: 52‐64%), and marked fluctuations in the ratio of multiply parasitized nests (range: 24‐52%). No difference was revealed in egg rejection rates after 7 decades (34‐39%). Linear mixed‐effects modelling revealed no year effect on the type host responses toward the parasitic egg(s) during the years of study (categorized as acceptance, ejection, burial, and nest desertion). Cuckoo egg rejection was primarily affected by the type of parasitism, as more cuckoo eggs were rejected during single parasitism than from multiply parasitized nests. Our comparison did not reveal any directional changes in this cuckoo‐host relationship, except a slight decrease in the frequency of multiple parasitism, which is likely to be independent from coevolutionary processes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-16T03:22:13.910489-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00673
       
  • Evidence for strong genetic structure in European populations of the
           little owl Athene noctua
    • Abstract: The little owl Athene noctua is a widespread species in Europe. This mainly sedentary owl experienced reduction in population sizes in some areas due to habitat loss and modification of the landscape. To assess the genetic structure of the populations of western and central Europe, we analysed 333 specimens from 15 geographical areas at 13 microsatellite loci. Statistical analyses and Bayesian clustering procedures detected two major genetically distinct clusters, the first distributed from Portugal to the Czech Republic and the second from the Balkans to Italy. The second cluster was further split into three groups, located in Italy, Sardinia and the Balkans. These groups match four previously‐described mtDNA haplogroups, and probably originated from the isolation of little owl populations in Sardinia and in three glacial refugia (Iberia, south Italy and Balkans) during the ice ages. High genetic admixture was recorded in central and northern Europe, probably as a consequence of the expansion from the refugia during interglacial. The main colonization route originated from the Iberian Peninsula towards central and northern Europe. Contact zones with colonization events from Italy and the Balkans were detected respectively in northern Italy and central Europe. Genetic indices show the existence of moderate levels of genetic variability throughout Europe, although evidence of recent evolutionary bottlenecks was found in some populations. Estimation of migration rates and approximate Bayesian computations highlighted the most likely phylogeographical scenario for the current distribution of little owl populations.
      PubDate: 2015-04-10T05:57:42.9192-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00679
       
  • Ecological niche variation in the Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
           complex
    • Abstract: Wilson's Warbler comprises three subspecies separated into two geographic groups: C. p. pusilla that breeds in Eastern North America; and C. p. pileolata and C. p. chryseola that breed in Western North America. Given the differences between the groups in genetics, morphology, habitat use, and population decline, we tested for ecological niche similarity in both their breeding and wintering distribution using niche modeling based on temperature and precipitation data. We first conducted an inter‐prediction approach considering the percent of summer and winter localities of one group that are predicted by the potential distribution of the alternate group. We also applied a null model approach that compares self‐predictions and pseudoreplicates of each group to indicate similarity, divergence, or indeterminate niche overlap. Finally, we compared ecological distances between and within groups using the Gower similarity equation. We found that the Western group had an ecological niche of broader climatic conditions, while the Eastern group had a narrower ecological niche. The inter‐prediction approach showed that, for both summering and wintering ranges, ecological niche models of the Western group predicted ~50% of the observed distribution of the Eastern group, whereas Eastern group models predicted
      PubDate: 2015-04-10T05:57:26.447885-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00531
       
  • Stopover duration, movement patterns and temporary home ranges of fall
           migrant yellow‐rumped warblers Setophaga coronata in native and
           anthropogenic woodlands of the Northern Prairie region, USA
    • Authors: Ming Liu; David L. Swanson
      Abstract: Stopover behavior of migrant birds is influenced by their energetic condition, but also by extrinsic factors, including weather conditions and habitat attributes such as vegetation structure, microclimates, predation pressure, competition, and food availability. Anthropogenic habitats may differ from natural habitats in these attributes, which could promote differing stopover behaviors for migrants in the two habitat types and affect overall habitat suitability. We used radio‐telemetry to measure stopover behaviors of fall migrant yellow‐rumped warblers Setophaga coronata in native riparian corridor woodlands (corridors) and anthropogenic woodlots (woodlots) in the Northern Prairie region. We measured stopover duration, movement rate, and temporary home range size for birds in both habitat types by attaching radio‐transmitters and relocating birds to either corridor (n = 17) or woodlot (n = 16) study sites. We used AICC to rank null, global, and reduced models, which included habitat type, energetic condition, habitat size, year, date, and movement rate (for stopover duration analyses only) as explanatory variables. Model rankings showed that habitat type was not included in any of the top models (ΔAICC < 2) for movement behavior, temporary home range size, or stopover duration, which suggests similar functional habitat quality between the two habitat types. These data add similar behavioral responses for birds in the two habitat types to similar fattening rates and stress physiology, further confirming similar suitability of native and anthropogenic woodland habitats in this region as stopover habitat. We also applied logistic regression with a model selection approach, including cloud cover, tail wind component, temperature, and barometric pressure as independent variables, and departure decision as the dependent variable, to evaluate the effects of weather variables on departure. Model selection suggested that cloud cover is a prominent factor affecting departure decisions and the other variables may also influence departure decisions of yellow‐rumped warblers from inland stopover sites.
      PubDate: 2015-04-10T05:57:08.406263-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00672
       
  • Evidence of a link between survival and pair fidelity across multiple tit
           populations
    • Authors: Antica Culina; Shelly Lachish, Ben C. Sheldon
      Abstract: Although they have the potential to strongly influence individual fitness and the dynamics and productivity of populations, the survival consequences of pairing outcomes and the influence of current pairing outcomes on those in the future have rarely been addressed. Previously, we have shown that pair fidelity increases both survival and future pair fidelity in a population of great tits (Parus major). The aim of this study was to explore the generality of our previous findings by evaluating the influence of current paring outcomes on survival and on future pairing outcomes in two different species and in different populations. We addressed our aims within a multievent capture‐mark‐recapture (MECMR) statistical framework, which accounts for differences in recapture rates and uncertainty in the assignment of pair status (i.e. whether an individual is breeding with the same partner or not). We applied the framework to breeding records of two great tit populations and one blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) population. We detected survival benefits (i.e. increased survival) of pair fidelity in all three populations. These were similar in both great tit populations, but higher for male great tits than for male blue tits. We found that age‐dependence in the rate of pair fidelity was shared between different populations and species, but did not detect any influence of current pair status on future pair status. Our study highlights the importance of considering survival when studying the fitness benefits of pair fidelity. Some of the differences in pair fidelity rates and survival benefits of pair fidelity are likely the result of long‐term and short‐term demographic and environmental factors in the population. We advocate the use of the MECMR framework used here for further exploration of these differences. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08T08:58:32.097969-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00661
       
  • Food availability modulates the effects of maternal antibodies on growth
           and immunity in young feral pigeons
    • Authors: A. Ismail; L. Jacquin, C. Haussy, S. Perret, J. Gasparini
      Abstract: It is now widely acknowledged that mothers can transfer their own immune experience to their progeny through the allocation of specific maternal antibodies (hereafter referred as MatAb) that can shape offspring phenotype and affect their fitness. However, the importance of environmental variability in modulating the effects of MatAb on offspring traits is still elusive. Using an experimental approach, we investigated how food availability interacted with MatAb to solve the trade‐off between humoral immunity and growth in young feral pigeons (Columba livia). Results show that the inhibitory effect of MatAb on the humoral response of chicks was detected regardless of the food treatment. In addition, body mass growth was higher in chicks receiving lower amounts of maternal antibodies but only in chicks of the ad libitum food treatment. This contradicts previous studies and suggests that the transfer of MatAb could entail some costs for chicks and reduce their growth. Taken together these results reinforce the idea that the maternal antibodies play a central role in shaping offspring life‐history traits but that their adaptive value is highly dependent on the environmental context in which they are transmitted by the mother. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08T08:58:17.731771-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00698
       
  • Cover, not caging, influences chronic physiological stress in a
           ground‐nesting bird
    • Authors: Laura X. L. Tan; Katherine L. Buchanan, Grainne S. Maguire, Michael A. Weston
      Abstract: Predator exclosures (‘nest cages’) around nests are increasingly used to enhance hatching success of declining ground‐nesting birds. However, such exclosures are contentious and have been suggested to have detrimental effects on the species which they aim to protect. This study examines whether exclosures increase physiological stress of incubating birds, a hitherto unrecognised and untested potential drawback of exclosures. Red‐capped plover Charadrius ruficapillus hatching success was radically altered and significantly higher for nests with exclosures (96.2%) compared with those without (6.8%). Chronic physiological stress in parents (as measured by the heterophil/lymphocyte [H/L] ratio in blood) did not vary between nests with and without exclosures, or between the sexes. However the absence of vegetative cover at the nest site was associated with a 62.7% elevation in H/L ratio, indicating that incubating birds which place their nests in the open are subject to increased levels of chronic stress. The results from this study demonstrate the fundamental importance of predation for the nesting success of this species and confirm that chronic stress levels are not a detrimental side effect of exclosure use.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08T08:57:58.396807-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00625
       
  • Visual obstruction and vigilance: a natural experiment
    • Authors: Guy Beauchamp
      Abstract: Visual obstructions can cause an increase in antipredator vigilance in prey animals by making predator detection more difficult. However, visual obstructions can also skew the perception of group size and inter‐individual distances and impair the detection of alarm signals by conspecifics. These changes within the group alone can cause an increase in vigilance. To disentangle the contribution of these various factors to changes in vigilance, I documented vigilance in a gregarious species, the semipalmated sandpiper Calidris pusilla, foraging in a habitat where a naturally‐occurring visual barrier partially prevented predator detection without altering the transfer of information about predation risk within the group. I used a matched sampling design to collect vigilance data for birds using adjacent areas with and without the visual barrier. In the visually‐obstructed area, sandpipers maintained a higher level of vigilance, occurred farther away from cover and in smaller flocks, and preferentially scanned the area of danger with one eye in particular. All these changes suggest that visual obstruction increased perceived predation risk. I conclude that it is the inability to get a good view of any approaching predator, rather than changes in intra‐group communication that caused the increase in vigilance in the visually‐obstructed area.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08T08:57:42.197467-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00612
       
  • Nest‐dwelling ectoparasites influence the start and duration of the
           first pre‐basic moult in the European starling Sturnus vulgaris
    • Authors: Simone Pirrello; Andrea Pilastro, Lorenzo Serra
      Abstract: Nest‐dwelling ectoparasites represent an early stressor for birds as they impair the development of nestlings, which can adaptively respond by adjusting their growth rate to current conditions. While nest ectoparasites have long‐term effects on nesting adults, no study has examined if they also have an impact on the moult patterns of juveniles. Herein, we investigated whether the presence of ectoparasites in the nest influences the start and duration of the first pre‐basic moult in the European starling. To do so, we experimentally removed nest‐dwelling ectoparasites from a group of nests and used another group of unmanipulated (i.e. naturally infested) nests as the control. The moult began at an earlier age and lasted longer in birds from the ectoparasite‐free nests compared to their control counterparts. The timing of the moult was also affected by the hatching date (i.e. birds that fledged later had shorter moults) and the brood size (i.e. birds in larger broods started their moult at an older age). We also found evidence that the removal of nest ectoparasites influenced the condition of individuals during the course of the moult. In the control birds, we observed a decrease in hematocrit levels, but these were unaltered in the birds fledged from the ectoparasite‐free nests. Our study shows that nest‐dwelling ectoparasites adversely affected the timing of the moult and the individual condition of juvenile starlings, with possible major consequences for their subsequent life‐history events.
      PubDate: 2015-03-26T04:12:08.744294-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00565
       
  • Skipping‐type migration in a small Arctic wader, the Temminck's
           stint Calidris temminckii
    • Authors: Terje Lislevand; Steffen Hahn
      Abstract: By using morphometric data and geolocator tracking we investigated fuel loads and spatio‐temporal patterns of migration and non‐breeding in Temminck's stints Calidris temminckii. Body masses in stints captured at autumn stopover sites from Scandinavia to northern Africa were generally not much higher than during breeding and did not vary geographically. Thus, we expected migrating stints to make several stopovers and either circumventing the Sahara desert with low fuel loads or fuelling at north African stopover sites before desert crossing. Geolocation revealed that birds (n = 6) departed their Norwegian breeding site in the last part of July and all but one migrated south‐west over continental western Europe. A single bird headed south‐east to the Balkan Peninsula where the geolocator died. As predicted, southbound migration proceeded in a typical skipping manner with 1–4 relatively short stopovers (median 4 d) during 10–27 d of migration before reaching north‐west Africa. Here birds spent 11–20 d before crossing the Sahara. The non‐breeding sites were located at or near the Niger River in Mali and were occupied continuously for more than 215 d with no indications of itinerancy. Spring migration commenced in late April/early May when birds crossed the desert and used stopover sites in the western Mediterranean basin in a similar manner as during autumn. The lowest body masses were recorded in spring at islands in the central Mediterranean basin, indicating that crossing the Sahara and Mediterranean barriers is exhausting to these birds. Hence, the skipping‐type pattern of migration revealed by geolocators is likely to be natural in this species and not an effect of instrumentation.
      PubDate: 2015-03-23T04:41:33.491965-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00653
       
  • Strouhal number for flying and swimming in rhinoceros auklets Cerorhinca
           monocerata
    • Authors: Dale M. Kikuchi; Yutaka Watanuki, Nobuhiko Sato, Kenji Hoshina, Akinori Takahashi, Yuuki Y. Watanabe
      Abstract: Alcids propel themselves by flapping wings in air and water that have vastly different densities. We hypothesized that alcids change wing kinematics and maintain Strouhal numbers (St = fA/U, where f is wingbeat frequency, A is the wingbeat amplitude, and U is forward speed) within a certain range, to achieve efficient locomotion during both flying and swimming. We used acceleration and GPS loggers to measure the wingbeat frequency and forward speed of free‐ranging rhinoceros auklets Cerorhinca monocerata during both flying and swimming. We also measured wingbeat amplitude from video footage taken in the wild. On average, wingbeat frequency, forward speed, and wingbeat amplitude were 8.9 Hz, 15.3 m s−1, and 0.39 m, respectively, during flying, and 2.6 Hz, 1.3 m s−1, and 0.18 m, respectively, during swimming. The smaller wingbeat amplitude during swimming was achieved by partially folding the wings, while maintaining the dorso‐ventral wingbeat angle. Mean St was 0.23 during flying and 0.36 during swimming. The higher St value for swimming might be related to the higher thrust force required for propulsion in water. Our results suggest that rhinoceros auklets maintain St for both flying and swimming within the range (0.2–0.4) that propulsive efficiency is known to be high and St in both flying specialists and swimming specialists are known to converge.
      PubDate: 2015-03-23T04:41:05.662297-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00642
       
  • Uncommon paleodistribution patterns of Chrysolophus pheasants in East
           Asia: explanations and implications
    • Abstract: Some modeling studies indicated that the past distributions of species in East Asia during the Last Interglacial (LIG) and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) periods differ from those of European and North American species and the deviant Asian distribution pattern is known under the term ‘pre‐LGM expansion’. It represents the unusually similar distribution patterns between the current and the LGM scenario. However, there is still no satisfying explanation for this phenomenon so far. Therefore, we took the two recently separated pheasant species of genus Chrysolophus in East Asia as an example to test the pattern by performing ecological niche models. The main findings of this study include: (1) the paleodistributions of these two pheasants also corresponded to the ‘pre–LGM expansion’ pattern; (2) climatic similarity results from Mobility‐Oriented Parity analysis also revealed similar pattern for both species; (3) climate regimes of East Asia showed patterns different from those in Europe and North America in a climate shift towards drier conditions and stronger seasonality and to more extreme temperatures of the coldest months particularly during the LIG; (4) the two Chrysolophus species occupied significantly different ecological niches according to current distribution. We suggest that ecological segregation established in allopatric glacial refugia should be the main determinants for the separation of two Chrysolophus species until they came into extant post–Pleistocene contact. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-03-23T04:20:19.229589-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00590
       
  • Landscape‐scale habitat availability, and not local geography,
           predicts migratory landbird stopover across the Gulf of Maine
    • Authors: Jennifer D. McCabe; Brian J. Olsen
      Abstract: While it is clear that many migratory behaviors are shared across taxa, generalizable models that predict the distribution and abundance of migrating taxa at the landscape scale are rare. In migratory landbirds, ephemeral concentrations of refueling birds indicate that individual behaviors sometimes produce large epiphenomena in particular geographic locations. Identifying landscape factors that predict the distribution and abundance of birds during migratory stopover will both improve our understanding of the migratory process and assist in broad, regionally relevant conservation. In this study we used autumnal passerine stopover data from a five‐year period and eleven stopover sites across coastal Maine, USA, to test four broad hypotheses of migrant distribution and abundance that have been supported in other regions: a) the community characteristics of the pool of potential migrants, b) a site's local geography, c) landscape composition and configuration measured at different spatial scales, and d) interactions between these factors. Our final model revealed that birds concentrate at ‘habitat islands’, sites that possess a disproportionate percentage of the vegetated habitat in the 4‐km surrounding landscape. The strength of this pattern, however, was inversely proportional to a species' remaining migratory distance. Our results corroborate several studies that emphasize the importance of land cover composition at finer spatial scales (< 80 km2) for predicting the stopover distribution and abundances of migratory birds. This suggests that different migrants likely assess stopover sites with similar mechanisms along their migratory route, and these commonalities may be broadly applied to identify stopover locations of conservation importance across the continent.
      PubDate: 2015-03-18T03:44:00.358813-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00598
       
  • Carry‐over effects of winter habitat quality on en route timing and
           condition of a migratory passerine during spring migration
    • Authors: Kristina L. Paxton; Frank R. Moore
      Abstract: We examined how conditions prior to migration influenced migration performance of two breeding populations of black‐and‐white warblers (Mniotilta varia) by linking information on the migrant's winter habitat quality, measured via stable carbon isotopes, with information on their breeding destination, measured via stable hydrogen isotopes. The quality of winter habitat strongly influenced the timing of migration when we accounted for differential timing of migration between breeding populations. Among birds migrating to the same breeding destination, males and females arriving early to the stopover site originated from more mesic habitat than later arriving birds, suggesting that the benefits of occupying high‐quality mesic habitat during the winter positively influence the timing of migration. However, male warblers arriving early to the stopover site were not in better migratory condition than later arriving conspecifics that originated from poor‐quality xeric winter habitat, regardless of breeding destination. The two breeding populations stopover at the study site during different time periods, suggesting that the lower migratory condition of early birds is not a function of the time of season, but potentially a migrant's migration strategy. Strong selection pressures to arrive early on the breeding grounds to secure high‐quality breeding territories may drive males from high‐quality winter habitat to minimize time at the expense of energy. This migration strategy would result in a smaller margin of safety to buffer the effects of adverse weather or scarcity of food, increasing the risk of mortality. The migratory condition of females was the same regardless of the timing of migration or breeding destination, suggesting that females adopt a strategy that conserves energy during migration. This study fills an important gap in our understanding of the linkages between winter habitat quality and factors that influence the performance of migration, the phase of the annual cycle thought to be limiting most migratory bird populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-03-17T07:46:20.974532-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00614
       
  • Breeding season weather determines long‐tailed tit reproductive
           success through impacts on recruitment
    • Authors: Philippa R. Gullett; Ben J. Hatchwell, Robert A. Robinson, Karl L. Evans
      Abstract: Productivity is a key demographic trait that can be influenced by climate change, but there are substantial gaps in our understanding of the impact of weather on productivity and recruitment in birds. Weather is known to influence reproductive success in numerous species, although such effects have not been reported in all studies, perhaps because they are masked by high nest predation rates or buffered by density dependence. Here, we use a 19‐year study of a population of individually marked Long‐tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus to quantify the impacts of weather on productivity in the nest (from eggs to fledging) and subsequent recruitment, while taking nest predation rates and density dependence into account. We find that weather has negligible effects on clutch size, hatching success, brood size, probability of fledging and number of fledglings. Annual variation in nest predation rates is a strong predictor of productivity, but we find no evidence that the magnitude of nest predation is determined by weather. Recruitment was strongly associated with breeding season weather, even when taking density dependence effects into account. This contrasts with the conventional view that first year survival of temperate passerines is primarily determined by winter weather. Recruitment was reduced when March temperatures were high, perhaps caused by earlier peaks in caterpillar abundance and thus reduced food availability at the time of fledging. Recruitment increased following high May temperatures, perhaps due to an improved thermo‐regulatory environment for young fledglings. These opposing effects of warm March and May temperatures highlight the importance of considering asymmetrical rates of warming in different months when predicting climate change impacts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
      PubDate: 2015-03-16T14:21:33.117658-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00560
       
  • First archaeogenetic results verify the mid‐Holocene occurrence of
           Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus far out of present range
    • Abstract: The paper presents an evaluation of subfossil bird bones from archaeological and geological sites in Europe that shows that birds of the genus Pelecanus occurred far out of their present range between 7.4 and 5.0 ka BP in the Danish archipelago. Additionally, from other northwestern European regions mid‐Holocene records of pelicans are known. However, due to morphological similarities there are difficulties in species identification. In this paper ancient DNA barcoding techniques were used to clarify the species assignment of one of these records for the first time. Our results show that the bone derives from Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus, a species that today breeds in 15 colonies in the eastern Mediterranean. This species identification is especially remarkable since the Dalmatian pelican is known to be less migratory. We demonstrate that the appearance and disappearance of pelicans in northwestern Europe coincide with climate parameters, since all records fall within warm periods. This applies for the larger group of Danish records during the Holocene thermal maximum in northern Europe as well as for two more groups of records from central Europe and Britain dating to 1.9 and 0.8 ka ago. Recent ecological research on the Dalmatian pelican shows that the species seems to profit from the modern climate changes and is starting to expand its range. Our paper documents that under special circumstances short‐distance migrant birds are also able to expand their ranges to areas far outside of the former distribution areas. Finally, the Dalmatian pelican is presented as an indicator species reflecting special climate conditions. The present study demonstrates not only the possibility to recover avian DNA from at least 7 ka old bones, but the relevance of such genetic analysis in combination with archaeological data, particularly if bones could not be assigned to species level by morphological features. In such cases, aDNA is shown as a valuable tool for the reconstruction of the avifauna of the past.
      PubDate: 2015-03-16T11:46:04.707069-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00652
       
  • Delayed timing of breeding as a cost of reproduction
    • Abstract: Timing of breeding is a trait with considerable individual variation, often closely linked to fitness because of seasonal declines in reproduction. The drivers of this variation have received much attention, but how reproductive costs may influence the timing of subsequent breeding has been largely unexplored. We examined a population of northern wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe to compare three groups of individuals that differed in their timing of breeding termination and reproductive effort to investigate how these factors may carry over to influence reproductive timing and reproductive output in the following season. Compared to females that bred successfully, females that put in less effort and terminated breeding early due to nest failure tended to arrive and breed earlier in year 2 (mean advancement = 2.2 and 3.3 d respectively). Females that spent potentially more effort and terminated breeding later due to production of a replacement clutch after nest failure, arrived later than other females in year 2. Reproductive output (number of fledglings) in year 2 differed between the three groups as a result of group‐level differences in the timing of breeding in combination with the general seasonal decline in reproductive output. Our study shows that the main cost of reproduction was apparent in the timing of arrival and breeding in this migratory species. Hence, reproductive costs can arise through altered timing of breeding since future reproductive success (including adult survival) is often dependent on the timing of breeding in seasonal systems.
      PubDate: 2015-03-16T11:44:01.30124-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00623
       
  • Local variation in weather conditions influences incubation behavior and
           temperature in a passerine bird
    • Authors: Brittney H. Coe; Michelle L. Beck, Stephanie Y. Chin, Catherine M. B. Jachowski, William A. Hopkins
      Abstract: Incubation is an important component of avian parental care and slight changes in incubation temperature can affect offspring phenotype. Although many extrinsic and intrinsic factors may generate variation in incubation temperature, they remain underexplored under natural conditions. Using a robust data set encompassing 55 nests, 22 816 behavioral observations, and > 1 million paired ambient and egg temperatures, we describe the relationships among abiotic factors, female incubation behavior, incubation temperature, and incubation period for tree swallows Tachycineta bicolor. We report a large amount of individual variation in incubation behaviors and average incubation temperatures for our study population. The average on‐bout incubation temperature was 34.1°C, with daily egg temperatures ranging from 18.0–39.2°C. Females modulated the number of times they left the nest and the amount of time they stayed off the nest according to interactions between precipitation and temperature patterns. Models generated from our observations predicted that the number of female off‐bouts was the lowest under warm and dry conditions while more off‐bouts were taken under cold and dry or warm and wet conditions. During cold and dry conditions, females stayed off their nest ∼4 times longer than under warm and dry conditions. However, this pattern was reversed under periods of rainfall; females tended to take shorter off‐bouts when it was rainy and cold compared to longer off‐bouts during warmer rain events. Furthermore, variation in female behavior was associated with differences in overall incubation temperature such that females that maintained greater incubation constancy produced higher incubation temperatures at a given ambient temperature than those that displayed lower incubation constancy. Our results provide perspective on the timing of breeding, as some of the advantages of breeding early may be countered by cooler, early season temperatures and precipitation that cause reproducing females to favor self‐maintenance at a potential cost to optimal incubation temperatures for offspring development.
      PubDate: 2015-03-04T05:57:43.118812-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00581
       
  • Seasonal mortality and sequential density dependence in a migratory bird
    • Authors: Eldar Rakhimberdiev; Piet J. van den Hout, Maarten Brugge, Bernard Spaans, Theunis Piersma
      Abstract: Migratory bird populations may be limited during one or more seasons, and thus at one or more places, but there is a dearth of empirical examples of this possibility. We analyse seasonal survival in a migratory shellfish‐eating shorebird (red knot Calidris canutus islandica) during a series of years of intense food limitation on the nonbreeding grounds (due to overfishing of shellfish stocks), followed by a relaxation period when destructive harvesting had stopped and food stocks for red knots recovered. For the estimation of seasonal survival from the 15 yr‐long near‐continuous capture–resight dataset, we introduce a ‘rolling window’ approach for data exploration, followed by selection of the best season definition. The average annual apparent survival over all the years was 0.81 yr−1. During the limitation period, survival probability of adult red knots was low in winter (0.78 yr−1), but this was compensated by high survival in summer (0.91 yr−1). During the relaxation period survival rate levelled out with a winter value of 0.81 yr−1 and a summer survival of 0.82 yr−1. The fact that during the cockle‐dredging period the dip in survival in winter was completely compensated by higher survival later in the annual cycle suggests sequential density dependence. We conclude that seasonal compensation in local survival (in concert with movements to areas apparently below carrying capacity) allowed the islandica population as a whole to cope, in 1998–2003, with the loss of half of the suitable feeding habitat in part of the nonbreeding range, the western Dutch Wadden Sea. As a more general point, we see no reason why inter‐seasonal density dependence should not be ubiquitous in wildlife populations, though its limits and magnitude will depend on the specific ecological contexts. We elaborate the possibility that with time, and in stable environments, seasonal mortality evolves so that differences in mortality rates between seasons would become erased.
      PubDate: 2015-02-25T09:26:50.866032-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00701
       
  • Always together: mate guarding or predator avoidance as determinants of
           group cohesion in white‐breasted mesites'
    • Authors: Anna Gamero; Peter M. Kappeler
      Abstract: Being a member of a cohesive group can have fitness benefits such as decreased predation risk, increased feeding efficiency as well as enhanced access to social information and mates. However, competition and the risk of parasite transmission exert centrifugal forces on group‐living. Thus, the actual degree of cohesion is expected to vary as a function of the relative importance of several social and ecological factors. White‐breasted mesites Mesitornis variegata are medium‐sized ground‐dwelling birds endemic to the dry deciduous forests of western Madagascar. They live in stable breeding pairs or small family groups, mate monogamously and often form temporary heterospecific associations with canopy‐dwelling bird species that give alarm calls to which mesites respond with anti‐predator behaviours. We investigated the potential effects of predation risk and mate defence on mesite group cohesion by analysing inter‐individual distances of 20 groups as a function of mesite social organization, alarm call events, the size of associated heterospecific flocks, and the adults' reproductive state. Mesite social units were very cohesive, particularly in families, when associated with smaller heterospecific flocks, and after an alarm call event. Adult reproductive state did not influence breeding partners' cohesion. Therefore, the pronounced group cohesion in mesites seems to be mainly a response to the high predation risk typically associated with a terrestrial life‐style, and not to mate‐guarding. However, we suggest that high group cohesion due to predation risk could limit opportunities for solitary extra‐territorial forays to obtain extra‐pair copulations, thereby contributing to a strictly monogamous system in this species.
      PubDate: 2015-02-19T06:26:02.056871-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00544
       
  • Ecological and environmental factors related to variation in egg size of
           New World flycatchers
    • Abstract: Geographical variation in egg size is well documented for several taxa, but remains insufficiently described for birds in spite of a well‐known latitudinal gradient in clutch size. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain avian egg size variation; however, they were not tested on a continental scale. Egg size is a key component of reproductive investment that influences offspring fitness. It is thought to vary geographically as one of a set of correlated life‐history traits that are under selection from varying ecological conditions. We completed a comprehensive literature review and calculated egg sizes for the most widespread clade within tyrant flycatchers, describing for the first time the geographical variation in egg size on a continental scale. We examined the relative support for ecological and environmental variables in explaining egg size variation using multi‐model inference and linear mixed models controlled for phylogenetic autocorrelation among species. We tested five hypotheses and found that: larger eggs occur in colder sites, which is consistent with the embryonic temperature hypothesis; medium/long‐distance migrants had smaller eggs than resident species while short‐distance migrants had the largest eggs; neither species clutch size, nor species nest type, nor evapotranspiration seasonality influenced egg size. Avian egg size is larger in Austral and Neotropical America (ANA), where species are resident or short‐distance migrants, and smaller across the medium/long‐distance migrants of the Nearctic region. In addition, while clutch size increases towards higher northern latitudes and is almost invariable across ANA species, egg sizes vary largely across ANA sites, increasing with southern latitudes and higher elevations and being influenced by summer temperature. While the embryonic temperature hypothesis has been usually linked to parental nest attentiveness, we highlight that environmental temperatures also have strong effects in shaping investment in egg size.
      PubDate: 2015-02-12T07:49:44.460374-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00629
       
  • Nest desertion cannot be considered an egg‐rejection mechanism in a
           medium‐sized host: an experimental study with the common blackbird
           Turdus merula
    • Abstract: Two main mechanisms of egg rejection, the main defence of hosts against brood parasites, have been described: ejection and desertion. Desertion of the parasitized nest is much more costly and is usually exhibited by small‐sized host species unable to remove the parasitic egg. However, nest desertion is frequently assumed to be an anti‐parasite strategy even in medium or large‐sized host species. This assumption should be considered with caution because: 1) large‐sized hosts able to eject the parasitic egg should eject it rather than desert the nest, and 2) breeding birds may desert their nests in response to different disturbances other than brood parasitism. This problem is especially important in the common blackbird Turdus merula because this is a medium‐sized species, potential host of the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus, in which desertion has been frequently reported as a response to cuckoo egg models. Here, we seek to determine whether nest desertion can be considered a response unequivocally directed to the parasitic egg in medium‐sized hosts using the blackbird as the study species. In an experimental study in which we have manipulated levels of mimicry and size of experimental eggs, we have found that both colour (mimetic and non‐mimetic; at least for human vision) and size (small, medium, and large) significantly affected ejection rates but not nest desertion rates. In fact, although large eggs disproportionally provoked nest desertion more frequently than did small or medium‐sized eggs, cuckoo‐sized parasitic eggs were not deserted allowing us to conclude that desertion is unlikely to be an adaptive response to brood parasitism at least for this species.
      PubDate: 2015-02-02T06:40:12.544161-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00571
       
  • Low‐budget ready‐to‐fly unmanned aerial vehicles: an
           effective tool for evaluating the nesting status of canopy‐breeding
           bird species
    • Authors: M. H. Weissensteiner; J. W. Poelstra, J. B. W. Wolf
      Abstract: Remotely controlled, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) promise to be of high potential for a variety of applications in ecological and behavioural research. Off‐the‐shelf solutions have recently become available for civil use at steeply decreasing costs. In this study, we explored the utility of an UAV equipped with an on‐board camera (14 megapixel photo and 1920 × 1080 pixel video resolution) in assessing the breeding status, offspring number and age of a canopy‐breeding bird species, the hooded crow Corvus [corone] cornix. We further quantified performance and potential time savings using the UAV versus inspection with alternative approaches (optical instruments, camera on a telescopic rod, tree climbing). Nesting status, number and approximate age of nestlings could be assessed with good success in all 24 attempts using the UAV. Eighty‐five percent of the time required for inspection by climbing could be saved. Disturbance was moderate and lower than caused by climbing or using a camera on a telescopic rod. Additionally, UAV usage avoided tree damage and circumvented health risks associated with tree‐climbing.
      PubDate: 2015-01-23T08:51:19.183193-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00619
       
  • Plain wrens Cantorchilus modestus zeledoni adjust their singing tempo
           based on self and partner's cues to perform precisely coordinated duets
    • Abstract: Precise coordination appears to be an important signal in several duetting species. However, little attention has been directed to the proximate mechanisms that might drive this behavior. To perform highly coordinated duets, individuals can either have an intrinsic fixed singing tempo or modify their singing tempo based on cues in their own and their partner's songs. In this study I determined whether autogenous and/or heterogenous factors are associated with duet coordination in plain wrens Cantorchilus modestus zeledoni by analyzing recorded duets from 8 territorial pairs in the field. Previous research has determined that plain wrens perform highly coordinated antiphonal duets with almost no overlap. I found that to achieve such precise coordination individuals perform phrase‐by‐phrase modifications to the duration between two consecutive phrases (inter‐phrase interval) based on a) whether their song is answered, b) the phrase type used in the duet and c) the position of the inter‐phrase interval within the duet. Moreover, there are several sex differences in how individuals use these cues to modify their inter‐phrase intervals. Females produce longer inter‐phrase intervals when their mates do not answer a phrase, whereas males produce shorter inter‐phrase intervals when their mates do not answer. Females modify their inter‐phrase intervals based only on the phrase type their mates sing, whereas males modify their inter‐phrase intervals based on both the phrase that they sing and the phrase the females use to answer. Both males and females produce longer inter‐phrase intervals for longer phrase types sung by their partners, but males do so with more precision than do females. Finally both sexes increase their inter‐phrase intervals as the duet progresses. That precise coordination is achieved by a complex and dynamic process supports the idea that this behavior could signal pair bond strength.
      PubDate: 2015-01-23T08:51:04.333372-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00575
       
  • Avian compass systems: do all migratory species possess all three'
    • Authors: Nikita Chernetsov
      PubDate: 2015-01-23T03:44:05.280492-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/jav.00593
       
  • A Test for Repertoire Matching in Eastern Song Sparrows
    • Abstract: Repertoire matching occurs when one songbird replies to another with a song type that the two birds share. Repertoire matching has previously been demonstrated to occur at well above chance levels in a western population of song sparrows, where it is hypothesized to serve as a low level threat in a hierarchy of aggressive signals. Here we test for repertoire matching in an eastern population of song sparrows. Previous work indicates that this eastern population differs from the western one in having lower levels of song sharing between neighboring males and in showing no association between song sharing and territory tenure. Here we confirm that males in this eastern population on average share few whole songs with their neighbors. The eastern males are familiar with their neighbors’ repertoires, as evidenced by a stronger singing response to stranger song than to neighbor song. Males in the eastern population did not repertoire match: when played an unshared song type from a specific neighbor, they did not reply with a song type shared with that neighbor more often than expected by chance or more often than in response to playback of a control song (an unshared stranger song). The results thus demonstrate a qualitative difference in vocal signaling strategies between two populations of the same species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Chemical defence in avian brood parasites: production and function of
           repulsive secretions in common cuckoo chicks
    • Abstract: The use of active chemical defence against predators is relatively rare in birds. Among others, it has been reported for some members of family Cuculidae whose chicks, when threatened, expel dark foul‐smelling liquid from their cloaca. Apart from the brood parasitic great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius, however, this phenomenon has not yet been systematically studied in any other cuckoo species. Here we investigated the repellent behaviour in the evicting brood parasite, the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus, parasitizing the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus. We explored whether production of secretions varies with chick age or size, and tested its presumed repellent function against various types of predators. We found that the production of secretions commenced at the age of approximately eight days, then gradually increased and decreased again shortly before fledging. Furthermore, we experimentally confirmed a more intensive repellent effect of the secretions on mammal predators than on avian predators, such as raptors and owls. The secretions have, however, no effect on corvid predators, probably because these scavengers often consume malodorous food. Further experimental studies together with phylogenetic comparative analyses are needed to elucidate the origin and function of this intriguing phenomenon both in parasitic and non‐parasitic cuckoos. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Incubation temperature influences survival in a small passerine bird
    • Abstract: In birds parental incubation behaviour is an important factor shaping the environmental conditions under which the embryos develop, and sub‐optimal incubation temperatures are known to negatively affect early growth and development. It is less well known if variation in incubation temperature can impose life‐long differences in individual performance and survival. In the present study we investigated the effects of incubation temperature on long‐term survival in a small passerine bird. Using our captive population of the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata we artificially incubated eggs at three biologically relevant temperatures (35.9, 37.0 and 37.9 oC) for two‐thirds of the incubation period and then monitored individual lifespan of the hatched chicks for two and a half years. We found that individuals from eggs incubated under the lowest temperature exhibited significantly lower long‐term survival compared to those which had been incubated at the highest temperature. Our results show that incubation temperature in birds, and thus parental incubation behaviour, play an important role in shaping the life‐history trajectories of offspring. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Does nest predation risk affect the frequency of extra‐pair
           paternity in a socially monogamous passerine'
    • Abstract: While considerable variations in both the frequency of extra‐pair paternity (EPP) and the behavioral events that produce it are recognized among species, populations, individuals, and breeding attempts, the determinants of these variations are surprisingly difficult to establish. Nest predation may be one such determinant, since it is the most important source of reproductive failure, and past studies have suggested a variety of reproductive flexibilities under nest predation risk. However, despite its potentially significant effect on mating behaviors, nest predation risk has rarely been discussed in association with variations in intraspecific EPP patterns. Here, we examined the effect of naturally occurring nest predation, which varied between sites, years, and breeding attempts, on patterns of EPP in 92 broods (132 adults and 710 nestlings) of the Japanese great tit Parus major minor. We found that the frequency of extra‐pair offspring was positively correlated with the nest predation rate, along with a correlation to breeding attempts in a season, but not with other factors such as individual quality or breeding density. Under high nest‐predation risk, it may be adaptive for males to search for additional extra‐pair copulation to spread the risk of losing all offspring and to invest less in mate‐guarding, which also enables females to seek additional extra‐mating. The results of this study suggest that nest predation risk, among other factors, may significantly influence paternity allocation in birds. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Comparative demographics of a Hawaiian forest bird community
    • Abstract: Estimates of demographic parameters such as survival and reproductive success are critical for guiding management efforts focused on species of conservation concern. Unfortunately, reliable demographic parameters are difficult to obtain for any species, but especially for rare or endangered species. Here we derived estimates of adult survival and recruitment in a community of Hawaiian forest birds, including eight native species (of which three are endangered) and two introduced species at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaiʻi. Integrated population models (IPM) were used to link mark‐recapture data (1994‐1999) with long‐term population surveys (1987‐2008). To our knowledge, this is the first time that IPM have been used to characterize demographic parameters of a whole avian community, and provides important insights into the life history strategies of the community. The demographic data were used to test two hypotheses: (i) arthropod specialists, such as the ‘Akiapōlā‘au (Hemignathus munroi), are 'slower' species characterized by a greater relative contribution of adult survival to population growth, i.e. lower fecundity and increased adult survival; and (ii) a species’ susceptibility to environmental change, as reflected by its conservation status, can be predicted by its life history traits. We found that all species were characterized by a similar population growth rate around one, independently of conservation status, origin (native vs. non‐native), feeding guild, or life history strategy (as measured by 'slowness'), which suggested that the community had reached an equilibrium. However, such stable dynamics were achieved differently across feeding guilds, as demonstrated by a significant increase of adult survival and a significant decrease of recruitment along a gradient of increased insectivory, in support of hypothesis (i). Supporting our second hypothesis, we found that slower species were more vulnerable species at the global scale than faster ones. The possible causes and conservation implications of these patterns are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Condition‐dependent expression of carotenoid‐ and
           melanin‐based plumage colour of northern flicker nestlings revealed
           by manipulation of brood size
    • Abstract: Carotenoid‐based colouration in feathers is widely accepted to be a reliable signal of the health of an individual, but the condition‐dependence of melanin‐based plumage ornaments has been highly debated. Using broods that were manipulated in size, we tested whether nutritional stress during rearing affected the carotenoid pigmentation in secondary feathers and the size, shape, and symmetry of melanin spots on breast plumage of northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) nestlings. Two measures of carotenoid colour (chroma and brightness) of secondary flight feathers did not vary according to brood size treatment, but in a larger dataset from the population, carotenoid chroma was positively associated with nestling mass. Nestlings from experimentally enlarged broods had smaller melanin spots than those from reduced broods, which is some of the first experimental evidence that melanin ornament size in growing nestlings is condition‐dependent. However, the shape and symmetry of the melanin breast spots was not associated with nestling mass. Sexual dimorphism was apparent in both types of pigmentation and future studies should investigate whether there are any trade‐offs for nestlings between investing in carotenoid colouration and melanisation and whether trade‐offs differ between the sexes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • The role of pigment based plumage traits in resolving conflicts
    • Abstract: The role of melanin ‘badges of status’, in male‐male competition has been well‐studied, in contrast, carotenoid based plumage has largely been examined in the context of female mate choice. Recent work has shown that carotenoid signals can also function in male‐male competition, although the functions of the two types of signals is currently unclear. Here, we examine the relationships between colouration, dominance and aggression in the crimson finch (Neochmia phaeton), a species where males have both conspicuous red carotenoid plumage and a black melanin patch. We examined the importance of carotenoid and melanin based signals in three contexts: 1) among free‐living birds interacting at a feeding station: we found that neither colour signal influenced the outcome of interactions; 2) in staged dyadic contest in captivity: we found that coloration from carotenoid pigments was positively related to the probability of winning a contest, while the size of the melanin plumage patch was not related to winning; and 3) in staged dyadic contests where male plumage colour had been masked: we found that the number of interactions required to determine dominance increased. While the underlying natural plumage colour was still important in these contests, birds with more intense carotenoid colouration were now more likely to lose. These results confirm carotenoid‐based signalling in male‐male contests. However this signal is used in conjunction with other factors such as self‐assessment and body condition. Contrary to traditional expectations, the black melanin patch was not found to be important in this context. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • BEHAVIOURAL RESPONSES DURING FEATHER REPLACEMENT IN HOUSE SPARROWS
    • Abstract: Birds lose feathers, whether during molt or by accident, and replace them by processes that are energetically demanding. We hypothesized that house sparrows, Passer domesticus biblicus, use behavioral means to save energy when feathers are lost, and tested the general prediction that house sparrows growing new feathers adjust their behavior to minimize the energy costs of foraging and to increase net energy gain from their food. To test these predictions we divided 18 house sparrows into three groups: 1) plucked – house sparrows from which we plucked 15 flight feathers; 2) cut – house sparrows in which the same 15 feathers were cut off at the calamus below the barbs; and 3) control ‐ unmanipulated house sparrows with plumage intact. We recorded both the quantity of seeds the house sparrows ate and the time they spent foraging from assay food patches. We found that "plucked" sparrows growing new feathers adjust their foraging behavior by reducing their feeding time and the number of visits to a food patch. This allowed them to increase their patch harvest rate while maintaining a steady body mass. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Sons do not take advantage of a head start: Parity in herring gull
           offspring sex ratios despite greater initial investment in males
    • Abstract: Skewed adult sex ratios sometimes occur in populations of free‐living animals yet the proximate mechanisms, timing of sex‐biases, and the selective agents contributing to skew remain a source of debate with contradictory evidence from different systems. We investigated potential mechanisms contributing to sex biases in a population of herring gulls with an apparent female skew in the adult population. Theory predicts that skewed adult sex ratios will adaptively lead to skewed offspring sex ratios to restore balance in the effective breeding population (Fisher 1958). Parents may also adaptively bias offspring sex ratios to increase their own fitness in response to environmental factors (Trivers and Willard 1973). Therefore, we expected to detect skewed sex ratios either at hatching or at fledging as parents invest differentially in offspring of different sexes. We sampled complete clutches (N = 336 chicks) at hatching to quantify potential skews in sex ratios by position in the hatch order, time of season, year, and nesting context (nest density), finding no departure from equal sex ratios at hatching related to any of these factors. Further, we sampled 258 chicks at near‐fledging to investigate potential sex biases in survival at the chick stage. Again, no biases in sex ratios were recorded. Male offspring were favored in this population via greater maternal investment in eggs carrying male embryos and greater parental provisioning of male offspring which reached greater sizes by fledging. Despite the advantages realized by male offspring, females were equally as likely to fledge as males. Thus, biased adult sex ratios apparently arise in the post‐fledging and pre‐recruitment stage in our population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Icterus spurius and I. fuertesi
    • Abstract: Birdsong has important functions in attracting and competing for mates, and song characteristics are thought to diverge rapidly during the process of speciation. In contrast, other avian vocalizations that may have non‐reproductive functions, such as calls, are thought to be more evolutionarily conserved and may diverge more slowly among taxa. This study examines differences in both male song and an acoustically simpler vocalization, the ‘jeet’ call, between two closely related taxa, Icterus spurius and I. fuertesi. A previous study comparing song syllable type sharing within and between I spurius and I. fuertesi indicated that their songs do not differ discernibly. Here we measured 18 acoustic characteristics of their songs and found strong evidence supporting this prior finding. In contrast, we measured 17 acoustic characteristics of jeet calls and found evidence of significant divergence between the two taxa in many of these characteristics. Calls in I. fuertesi have a longer duration, a larger frequency bandwidth, a lower minimum frequency, a lower beginning frequency, and greater levels of both frequency and amplitude modulation in comparison to the calls of I. spurius. In addition, I. fuertesi calls contain two distinct parts, while the calls of I. spurius have only one part. Thus, we find evidence of divergence in the calls of the two taxa but not their songs challenging the widespread assumption that complex bird song evolves more rapidly than other types of vocalizations. Understanding divergence in multiple vocalization types as well as other behavioral, morphological, and molecular traits is important to understanding the earliest stages of speciation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Recent speciation and elevated Z‐chromosome differentiation between
           sexually monochromatic and dichromatic species of Australian teals
    • Abstract: Sex chromosomes potentially have an important role in speciation and often have elevated differentiation between closely related species. In birds, traits associated with male plumage, female mate preference, and hybrid fitness have been linked to the Z‐chromosome (females are heterogametic, ZW). We tested for elevated Z‐differentiation between two recently diverged species of Australian ducks, the sexually monochromatic grey teal (Anas gracilis) and the dichromatic chestnut teal (A. castanea). Despite prominent morphological differences, these two species are genetically indistinguishable at both mitochondrial DNA (mean ΦST < 0.0001) and 17 autosomal loci (mean ΦST = 0.0056). However, we detected elevated Z‐differentiation (mean ΦST = 0.271) and tentative evidence of an island of differentiation on the Z‐chromosome. This elevated differentiation was explained by a high frequency of derived alleles in chestnut teal that were absent in grey teal, which parallels independent evidence for a gain in dichromatism from a monochromatic ancestor. Coalescent estimates of demographic history and simulations indicated that the elevated Z‐differentiation was unlikely to be explained by neutral processes, but instead supported a role of divergent selection. We discuss evidence for models of speciation with gene flow versus adaptive divergence in the absence of gene flow and find that both hypotheses are plausible explanations of the data. Overall, these teal have the weakest background differentiation documented to date for a species showing a large Z‐effect, and they are an excellent model species for studying speciation genomics and the evolution of sexual dichromatism. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
  • Is the denser contour feather structure in pale grey than in pheomelanic
           brown tawny owls (Strix aluco) an adaptation to cold environments'
    • Abstract: In colour polymorphic species morphs are considered to be adaptations to different environments, where they have evolved and are maintained because of their differential sensitivity to the environment. In cold environments the plumage insulation capacity is essential for survival and it has been proposed that plumage colour is associated with feather structure and thereby the insulation capacity of the plumage. We studied the structure of contour feathers in the colour polymorphic tawny owl (Strix aluco). A previous study of tawny owls in the same population has found strong selection against the brown morph in cold and snowy winters whereas this selection pressure is absent in mild winters. We predicted that grey morphs have a denser and more insulative plumage, enabling them to survive better in cold climate compared to brown ones. The insulative plumulaceous part of the dorsal contour feathers was larger and the fine structure of the plumulaceous part of the feather was denser in grey tawny owls than in brown ones. In the ventral contour feathers the plumulaceous part of the feather was denser in females than in males and in older birds without any differences between morphs. Our study suggests that insulative microscopical feather structures differ between colour morphs and we propose that feather structure may be a trait associated with morph‐specific survival in cold environments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
       
 
 
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