Geographical location affects size and materials used in the construction of Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) nests.

Briggs, Kevin and Biddle, Lucia and Deeming, Charles (2019) Geographical location affects size and materials used in the construction of Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) nests. Avian Research, 10 . pp. 1-17. ISSN 2053-7166

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40657-019-0156-7

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Geographical location affects size and materials used in the construction of Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) nests
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Abstract

Background: Nest construction is a key element of avian reproductive behaviour and the result is often a complex structure that is used for incubation of eggs, which represents an extended phenotype. It is known that nest construction is a plastic behaviour but the extent to which plasticity is observed in a single species with a wide geographical distribution is largely unknown. This study sought to better understand variation in nest size and composition across a very wide geographical area. The hypothesis suggested that location would affect size but not composition of nests of the European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Methods: Nests and reproductive data were collected from seventeen study sites, spread over 6° of latitude and 3.3° of longitude on the island of Great Britain. Dimensions of nests were measured before they were deconstructed to determine the masses and types materials used in the outer nest and the cup lining. Results: Geographical variation was observed in base thickness of nests but not many other dimensions. Nests varied in composition but were mainly made of leaf, moss, bark, grass, root and fern. Moss was used more to the north and east of the study area compared with more leaf mass towards the south and west. The species of leaf and bark used in the nests varied between geographical locations. Additionally, the use of leaves or bark from a particular tree species did not reflect the incidence of the tree species in the immediate territory. Conclusions: This study showed that nest composition was affected by geographical location over a wide area.
Variation between nests at each location was high and so it was concluded that differences in nest composition reflect individual selection of materials but evidence is such that it remains unclear whether this is deliberate to fulfil a specific role in the nest, or simply opportunistic with birds simply picking up materials with the appropriate characteristics as they find them outside their nestbox.

Keywords:Breeding success, Ficedula hypoleuca, Latitude, Longitude, Nest composition, Nest size
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C140 Developmental/Reproductive Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:39176
Deposited On:13 Dec 2019 09:15

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