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Ecol Evol. 2014 Sep;4(18):3583-95. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1189. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Variation in clutch size in relation to nest size in birds.

Author information

1
Laboratoire Ecologie, Systematique et Evolution, UMR 8079 CNRS-Université Paris-Sud XI-AgroParisTech Batiment 362 Université Paris-Sud XI, Orsay Cedex, F-91405, France.
2
Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp Campus CGB, Antwerp, B-2020, Belgium.
3
Russian Academy of Sciences, Karelian Research Centre, Instition of Biology Petrozavodsk, 185610, Russia.
4
Department of Experimental Zoology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Łodź Banacha 12/16, Łodź, 90-237, Poland.
5
Terrestrial Vertebrates Research Unit "Cavanilles", Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia C/Catedrático José Beltran 2, Paterna, E-46980, Spain.
6
Laboratoire Ecologie-Evolution, UMR 7625, Equipe Ecophysiologie Evolutive - Evolutionary Ecophysiology Research Group, Université Pierre et Marie Curie - UPMC 7 quai Saint Bernard, case 237, Paris Cedex 05, F-75252, France.
7
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CEFE UMR 5175 Campus CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier Cedex 5, F-34293, France.
8
Research Laboratory "Ecology of Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems", University Badji Mokhtar Annaba, Algeria.
9
INRA, UR 1115, Plantes et Systèmes de culture Horticoles Avignon, F-84000, France.
10
Àrea de Biodiversitat, Grup de Biologia de la Conservació, Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Catalunya Carretera de St. Llorenç de Morunys, km. 2, Solsona, E-25280, Spain.
11
Strada Bine 1424, Acquanegra sul Chiese (MM), I-46011, Italy.
12
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CEFE UMR 5175 Campus CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier Cedex 5 F-34293, France.
13
University of Haifa Haifa, Israel ; Society for the Protection of Nature, University of Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland.
14
Institution of Environment Science, Jagiellonian University Krakow, Poland.
15
Stazione Inanellamento c/o Dipartimento SEN-FIMIZO, Università di Palermo Palermo, Italy.
16
Department of Zoology, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities Prusa 12, Siedlce, PL-08-110, Poland.
17
Univ Lyon 1, Department of Biometry & Evolutionary Biology, CNRS UMR 5558 Villeurbanne, F-69622, France.
18
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences Wilcza 64, Warsaw, PL-00-679, Poland.
19
Campus Drie Eiken, Department of Biology (Ethology) Building C, Antwerp (Wilrijk), B-2610, Belgium.
20
Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku Turku, FI-20014, Finland.
21
Université de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 5561, BioGéoSciences 6 Boulevard Gabriel, Dijon, F-21000, France.
22
School of Bioscience, Cardiff University Cardiff, CF10 3AX, UK.
23
Department of Biology, University of Oulu Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland.
24
Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Laguna La Laguna, E-38260, Spain.
25
University of Haifa Haifa, Israel.
26
Department of Natural and Social Sciences, University of Gloucestershire Gloucestershire, GL50 4AZ, U.K.
27
Department of Zoology, Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology & Institute of Human Sciences South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PS, U.K.
28
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences Wilcza 64, Warszawa, PL-00-679, Poland.
29
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CEFE UMR 5175 Campus CNRS, et Université de Montpellier II, 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier Cedex 5, F-34293, France.
30
Department of Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University Uppsala, SE-75236, Sweden.
31
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, U.K.
32
Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique, UPS Toulouse III, Bât 4R1, salle 122 118 route de Narbonne, Toulouse, F-31062, France.
33
CEH Wallingford Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, U.K.
34
Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique, UPS Toulouse III, Bât 4R1, salle 122 118 route de Narbonne, Toulouse F-31062, France.
35
University of Helsinki Kilpisjarvi Biological Station, P.O.Box 17, Helsinki, FIN-00014, Finland.
36
Institute of Ecology of Nature Research Centre Akademijos 2, Vilnius, LT-08412, Lithuania.
37
Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku Turku FI-20014, Finland.
38
Institute of Ecology & Earth Sciences, University Tartu Tartu, EE-51014, Estonia.
39
Crx. St. Pierre 6 rue Morcueil, Fleurey Sur Ouche, F-21410, France.
40
Department of Biology, University of Oulu Oulu, FI-90014, Finland.
41
Department of Ecology & Evolution, Uppsala University Uppsala, S-75236, Sweden.
42
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YQ, U.K.
43
Department of Zoology, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu 46 Vanemuise Str., Tartu, EE-51014, Estonia.
44
Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wilcza 64 Warszawa PL-00-679, Poland.
45
Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Madrid, E-28002, Spain.
46
Department of Zoology, Rzeszów University Zelwerowicza 4, Rzeszów, PL-35-601, Poland.
47
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä POB 35, Jyväskylä, FIN-40014, Finland ; Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionelle & Evolutive, CNRS 1919 Route de Mende, Montpellier, France.
48
Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC) José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Madrid, E-28006, Spain.
49
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Campus CNRS 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier Cedex 5, F-34293, France.
50
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, U.K.
51
Ecology Building, Animal Ecology, Lund University Lund, SE-223 62, Sweden.
52
Department of Biology, Biodiversity, Lund University Ecology Building, Lund, SE-223 62, Sweden.
53
Department of Life Sciences, Institute of Marine Research, University of Coimbra Apartado 3046, Coimbra, PT-3001-401, Portugal.
54
Department of Biology, University of Oulu P.O. Box 3000, Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland.
55
Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, University of Lisbon Lisbon, 1349-017, Portugal.
56
Campus Drie Eiken, Department of Biology (Ethology), Building C Antwerp (Wilrijk) B-2610, Belgium.
57
Latvian Fund for Nature Dzirnavu Street 73-2, Riga, LV-1011, Latvia.
58
Laboratory of Ornithology, Department of Zoology, Palacky University Olomouc, CZ-77146, Czech Republic.
59
Institute of Ecology & Evolution (IEE), University of Bern Bern, CH-3012, Switzerland.
60
Falculty of Sciences, Evolutionary Ecology Group (GIBE), University of A Coruña Campus Zapateira, A Coruña, E-15008, Spain ; Evolutionary Ecology Group (EVECO), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp Middelheimcampus, Groenenborgerlaan 171, Antwerp, B-2020, Belgium.
61
Department of Biology, University of Oulu P. O. Box 3000, Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland.
62
Unidad Asociada CSIC de Ecología Evolutiva y de la Conducta, Nat-Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona Barcelona, Spain.
63
Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä Jyväskylä, Finland.
64
Department Life Science, IMAR CMA, University Coimbra Coimbra, PT-3004517, Portugal.
65
Department of Biology, University of Oslo Oslo, Norway.
66
Luontotutkimus Solonen Oy Neitsytsaarentie 7b B 147, Helsinki, FIN-00960, Finland.
67
SROPU Via R. Crippa 60, Rome, Italy.
68
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex Brighton, Sussex, BN1 9QG, U.K.
69
Behavioral Ecology Group, Department of Systematic Zoology & Ecology, Eötvös Lorand University Budapest, H-1117, Hungary.
70
Institute of Zoology, Poznan University of Life Sciences Wojska Polskiego 71 C, Poznań, PL-60-625, Poland.
71
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) Doevendaalsesteg, 10, Wageningen, NL-6708 BP, the Netherlands.
72
Environmental and Marine Biology, Åbo Akademi University Artillerigatan 6, Biocity, Åbo, FI-20520, Finland.
73
Department of Zoology, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Prusa 12 Siedlce PL-08-110, Poland.

Abstract

Nests are structures built to support and protect eggs and/or offspring from predators, parasites, and adverse weather conditions. Nests are mainly constructed prior to egg laying, meaning that parent birds must make decisions about nest site choice and nest building behavior before the start of egg-laying. Parent birds should be selected to choose nest sites and to build optimally sized nests, yet our current understanding of clutch size-nest size relationships is limited to small-scale studies performed over short time periods. Here, we quantified the relationship between clutch size and nest size, using an exhaustive database of 116 slope estimates based on 17,472 nests of 21 species of hole and non-hole-nesting birds. There was a significant, positive relationship between clutch size and the base area of the nest box or the nest, and this relationship did not differ significantly between open nesting and hole-nesting species. The slope of the relationship showed significant intraspecific and interspecific heterogeneity among four species of secondary hole-nesting species, but also among all 116 slope estimates. The estimated relationship between clutch size and nest box base area in study sites with more than a single size of nest box was not significantly different from the relationship using studies with only a single size of nest box. The slope of the relationship between clutch size and nest base area in different species of birds was significantly negatively related to minimum base area, and less so to maximum base area in a given study. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that bird species have a general reaction norm reflecting the relationship between nest size and clutch size. Further, they suggest that scientists may influence the clutch size decisions of hole-nesting birds through the provisioning of nest boxes of varying sizes.

KEYWORDS:

Hole nesting; natural holes; nest boxes; reaction norm

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