12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Experimental evidence for state-dependent nest ...
View graph of relations

« Back

Experimental evidence for state-dependent nest weight in the blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2009
JournalBehavioural Processes
Journal number1
Volume81
Number of pages3
Pages144-146
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Parental investment in reproduction is generally limited by food availability, and so avian life-history research has traditionally focused on the brood rearing phase, when food requirements are greatest. Only relatively recently has the focus extended to the incubation phase, and even more recently to the nestbuilding phase, where observational and comparative evidence suggest that avian nest building is an energetically expensive and time-consuming activity. We aimed to experimentally test the limitations on this cost in a hole-breeding passerine, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), by providing supplementary food to experimental pairs during the nest-building period. In comparison with control females, that did not receive supplementary food, experimental females constructed heavier nests, with greater amounts of moss base but similar amounts of cup lining, despite there being no differences in the time taken to build the nest. This study provides empirical support for the hypothesis that avian nest building is a costly behaviour, limited by food availability.