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The hypothesis that a negative relationship exists between clutch size and the probability that the nest will be robbed is tested, using data for passerine birds given in the literature. The data for four separate groups of species, viz. hole-nesters, semi hole-nesters and open-nesters nesting above and on the ground, respectively, were examined in relation(More)
The "challenge hypothesis" posits that when established social orders are challenged, plasma testosterone (T) in socially monogamous breeding male birds will temporarily increase to facilitate aggressive responses. However, not all birds conform to predictions. To expand upon past findings, we examined effects of direct territorial challenge on T levels in(More)
Models of sexual selection suggest that populations may easily diverge in male secondary sexual characters. Studies of a Spanish population of the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, and a Swedish population of the closely related collared flycatcher, F. albicollis, have indicated that the white forehead patch of males is a sexually selected trait. We(More)
Sexual-selection theories generally assume that mating preferences are heritable traits. However, there is substantial evidence that the rearing environment may be important for the development of mating preferences, indicating that they may be learnt, or modified by experience. The relative importance of such sexual imprinting across species remains(More)
We discuss two pathways along which obligate brood parasitism (OBP) may evolve and examine some of the critical steps that must be passed by letting great tits Parus major be reared by blue tits Parus caeruleus in a field experiment. The cross-fostered chicks survived well in blue tit nests, but their local recruitment and reproductive success was much(More)
Interspecific nest parasitism is surprisingly rare in birds given the potential advantages for the parasite of exploiting the parental care of other species. One possibility is that chicks will not thrive with the parental care and food of heterospecifics. I simulated parasitism in nonparasitic congeners by switching eggs between nests of three species of(More)
Plasma testosterone increases during breeding in many male vertebrates and has long been implicated in the promotion of aggressive behaviors relating to territory and mate defense. Males of some species also defend territories outside of the breeding period. For example, the European nuthatch (Sitta europaea) defends an all-purpose territory throughout the(More)