Nest insulation in the European Robin (Erithacus rubecula): effects of latitude and construction materials

Taberner Cerezo, Aina and Deeming, Charles (2016) Nest insulation in the European Robin (Erithacus rubecula): effects of latitude and construction materials. Avian Biology Research, 9 (2). pp. 96-102. ISSN 1758-1559

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Item Type:Article
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The various roles that birds’ nests play are widely discussed and there is increasing interest in developing a
better understanding of how they achieve these roles. The insulatory properties of nests have been investigated
in a variety of songbird species and can vary with temperature and latitude. However, data are only available
for a limited number of species. Here, we study the variations of the insulatory properties of European Robin
(Erithacus rubecula) nests in conjunction with the morphology of the nests and composition of the materials
used in construction. As well as quantifying the materials used to construct these nests for the first time, we test
the hypothesis that there is a latitudinal effect on nest insulation. Robin nests have a cup structure that is quite
distinct, and easily separated, from the nest’s base. Although the cup and nest’s base shared similar construction
materials discriminant analysis showed that they can be distinguished on the basis of their differing proportions
of leaves. Insulatory values correlated with the mass of leaves in the cup but not latitude. Unlike other songbirds
of comparable size that nest in nestboxes, European Robins appear to be able to use plant-derived materials
rather than animal-derived materials to effectively insulate their nests.

Keywords:Nest construction, thermal properties, Insulation, Latitude, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C140 Developmental/Reproductive Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:24938
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 15:10

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