Nest reuse by Eastern Kingbirds

Adaptive behavior or ecological constraint?

Lucas James Redmond, Michael T. Murphy, Amy C. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The reuse of old nests by open-cup nesting passerines is a seemingly rare but potentially adaptive behavior if, as a consequence, females begin to breed earlier, lay larger clutches, or fledge more young. We report an unusually high rate of nest reuse (∼10% of 341 nests) for Eastern Kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus) breeding at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. We found no difference in availability of nesting habitat or food abundance in territories in which nests were and were not reused. We also found no support for the hypotheses that kingbirds benefited from nest reuse by breeding earlier, laying larger clutches, or fledging more young, and, contrary to expectations, females that reused nests laid significantly smaller eggs than females who built their own nests. Nest reuse was independent of age: a roughly equal number of females for which we had multiple years of data both reused nests and built new nests, but at different points in their lives. Competition for nest sites seems high at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge because many open-cup nesting species utilize similar nest sites in the limited zone of riparian vegetation. A shortage of high-quality nest sites, coupled with interspecific competition, may underlie the high frequency of nest reuse in this kingbird population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-468
Number of pages6
JournalCondor
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

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nest
nests
nest site
nesting sites
refuge
conservation areas
breeding
fledging
riparian vegetation
riparian areas
passerine
interspecific competition
egg
breeds
vegetation
food
habitat
habitats

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Redmond, Lucas James ; Murphy, Michael T. ; Dolan, Amy C. / Nest reuse by Eastern Kingbirds : Adaptive behavior or ecological constraint?. In: Condor. 2007 ; Vol. 109, No. 2. pp. 463-468.
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Nest reuse by Eastern Kingbirds : Adaptive behavior or ecological constraint? / Redmond, Lucas James; Murphy, Michael T.; Dolan, Amy C.

In: Condor, Vol. 109, No. 2, 01.05.2007, p. 463-468.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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