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Parent birds assess nest predation risk and adjust their reproductive strategies

Ecology Letters

By:
,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00892.x

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Abstract

Avian life history theory has long assumed that nest predation plays a minor role in shaping reproductive strategies. Yet, this assumption remains conspicuously untested by broad experiments that alter environmental risk of nest predation, despite the fact that nest predation is a major source of reproductive failure. Here, we examined whether parents can assess experimentally reduced nest predation risk and alter their reproductive strategies. We experimentally reduced nest predation risk and show that in safer environments parents increased investment in young through increased egg size, clutch mass, and the rate they fed nestlings. Parents also increased investment in female condition by increasing the rates that males fed incubating females at the nest, and decreasing the time that females spent incubating. These results demonstrate that birds can assess nest predation risk at large and that nest predation plays a key role in the expression of avian reproductive strategies. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Parent birds assess nest predation risk and adjust their reproductive strategies
Series title:
Ecology Letters
DOI:
10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00892.x
Volume
9
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
428
Last page:
434
Number of Pages:
7