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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)
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)
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)
A cornerstone of ecological theory is the ecological niche. Yet little is known about how individuals come to adopt it: whether it is innate or learned. Here, we report a cross-fostering experiment in the wild where we transferred eggs of blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, to nests of great tits, Parus major, and vice versa, to quantify the consequences of(More)
We briefly review the literature on social learning in birds, concluding that strong evidence exists mainly for predator recognition, song, mate choice and foraging. The mechanism of local enhancement may be more important than imitation for birds learning to forage, but the former mechanism may be sufficient for faithful transmission depending on the(More)
1. Climate warming has led to shifts in the seasonal timing of species. These shifts can differ across trophic levels, and as a result, predator phenology can get out of synchrony with prey phenology. This can have major consequences for predators such as population declines owing to low reproductive success. However, such trophic interactions are likely to(More)
There is growing evidence that post-copulatory sexual selection, mediated by sperm competition, influences the evolution of sperm phenotypes. Evidence for pre-copulatory sexual selection effects on sperm traits, on the other hand, is rather scarce. A recent paper on the pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, reported phenotypic associations between sperm(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)
In captivity, the adrenocortical stress response can be permanently altered by events that occur during early life. Free-living animals have rarely been examined in this regard. To examine whether early-life events impact the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the natural setting, we evaluated the stress response of free-living interspecifically(More)