Fledgling survival increases with development time and adult survival across north and south temperate zones

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Slow life histories are characterized by high adult survival and few offspring, which are thought to allow increased investment per offspring to increase juvenile survival. Consistent with this pattern, south temperate zone birds are commonly longer-lived and have fewer young than north temperate zone species. However, comparative analyses of juvenile survival, including during the first few weeks of the post-fledging period when most juvenile mortality occurs, are largely lacking. We combined our measurements of fledgling survival for eight passerines in South Africa with estimates from published studies of 57 north and south temperate zone songbird species to test three predictions: (1) fledgling survival increases with length of development time in the nest; (2) fledgling survival increases with adult survival and reduced brood size controlled for development time; and (3) south temperate zone species, with their higher adult survival and smaller brood sizes, exhibit higher fledgling survival than north temperate zone species controlled for development time. We found that fledgling survival was higher among south temperate zone species and generally increased with development time and adult survival within and between latitudinal regions. Clutch size did not explain additional variation, but was confounded with adult survival. Given the importance of age-specific mortality to life history evolution, understanding the causes of these geographical patterns of mortality is important.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fledgling survival increases with development time and adult survival across north and south temperate zones
Series title Ibis
DOI 10.1111/ibi.12325
Volume 158
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 9 p.
First page 135
Last page 143
Country South Africa
Other Geospatial Koeberg Nature Reserve
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