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A.D. Chalfoun

Theory predicts that parents should invest less in dependent offspring with lower reproductive value, such as those with a high risk of predation. Moreover, high predation risk can favor reduced parental activity when such activity attracts nest predators. Yet, the ability of parents to assess ambient nest-predation risk and respond adaptively remains unclear, especially where nest-predator assemblages are diverse and potentially difficult to assess. We tested whether variation in parental investment by a multi-brooded songbird (Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri) in an environment (sagebrush steppe) with diverse predators was predicted by ambient nest-predation risk or direct experience with nest predation. Variation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Condor
Predation is an important and ubiquitous selective force that can shape habitat preferences of prey species, but tests of alternative mechanistic hypotheses of habitat influences on predation risk are lacking. 2. We studied predation risk at nest sites of a passerine bird and tested two hypotheses based on theories of predator foraging behaviour. The total-foliage hypothesis predicts that predation will decline in areas of greater overall vegetation density by impeding cues for detection by predators. The potential-prey-site hypothesis predicts that predation decreases where predators must search more unoccupied potential nest sites. 3. Both observational data and results from a habitat manipulation provided clear...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Animal Ecology
Avian incubation attentiveness has important fitness consequences through its influence on the number and quality of hatched young and energetic costs imposed on parents. Nest attentiveness is highly variable across species and geographical regions. We reviewed the literature and found a worldwide pattern that nest attentiveness of passerines is generally lower in south temperate and tropical regions than in north temperate regions. We also conducted a food manipulation experiment to assess the extent to which nest attentiveness may reflect proximate responses versus an evolved behaviour. We used the karoo prinia, Prinia maculosa, in South Africa, which has very low nest attentiveness (???49%) compared with that...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Animal Behaviour
1. Identifying the habitat features that influence habitat selection and enhance fitness is critical for effective management. Ecological theory predicts that habitat choices should be adaptive, such that fitness is enhanced in preferred habitats. However, studies often report mismatches between habitat preferences and fitness consequences across a wide variety of taxa based on a single spatial scale and/or a single fitness component. 2. We examined whether habitat preferences of a declining shrub steppe songbird, the Brewer's sparrow Spizella breweri, were adaptive when multiple reproductive fitness components and spatial scales (landscape, territory and nest patch) were considered. 3. We found that birds settled...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Applied Ecology
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