Claire Doutrelant

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It is poorly understood whether female morphological and behavioural traits can be used as 'signals'. In particular, experimental tests of the hypothesis that female ornaments reflect quality are scarce. Here, we experimentally examine whether female plumage coloration might signal maternal quality in the blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus by forcing half of the(More)
Indirect fitness benefits are believed to be an important force behind the evolution of cooperative breeding. However, helpers may associate with their relatives as a result of delayed dispersal, hence, kin associations might be a consequence of demographic viscosity rather than active choice. In addition, recent studies showed that helpers may have access(More)
For cooperatively breeding species, the most popular and intensely debated explanation for sex ratio variation is the helper repayment hypothesis. It predicts overall sex ratio bias towards the helping sex, and/or facultative adjustment towards the helping sex in absence of helpers. We tested these predictions in a colonial cooperative bird, the sociable(More)
In many species mature individuals delay independent reproduction and may help others to reproduce. This behaviour is often explained through ecological constraints, although recently attention has also been paid to the variation in habitat quality. If the quality of vacant habitat influences the fitness trade-off between delaying reproduction and breeding(More)
Population trends are determined by gains through reproduction and immigration, and losses through mortality and emigration. These demographic quantities and resulting population dynamics are affected by different external and internal drivers. We examined how these demographic quantities were affected by weather, research-induced disturbance, local(More)
Many vertebrates use colour vision for vital behaviour but their visual performance in dim light is largely unknown. The light intensity threshold of colour vision is known only for humans, horses and two parrot species. Here, we first explore this threshold in a passerine bird, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Using classic conditioning of colour cues(More)
Badges of status, usually color patches, are hypothesized to serve as important signals within natural populations by communicating an individual’s fighting ability or aggressiveness before an interaction ever takes place. These signals, which may evolve via sexual and/or social selection, mediate intra-specific competition by influencing the outcome or(More)
Blue-green and brown-spotted eggshells in birds have been proposed as sexual signals of female physiological condition and egg quality, reflecting maternal investment in the egg. Testing this hypothesis requires linking eggshell coloration to egg content, which is lacking for brown protoporphyrin-based pigmentation. As protoporphyrins can induce oxidative(More)
A previous study of geographic variation in blue tit (Parus caeruleus) song structure showed that changes in blue tit song syntax (i.e. presence/absence of a trill) are correlated with the breeding density of a close competitor, the great tit (P. major), and are not correlated with other environmental factors such as vegetation structure or blue tit(More)
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(More)