Settlement patterns of female barn swallows Hirundo rustica across different group sizes: access to colorful males or favored nests?

  title={Settlement patterns of female barn swallows Hirundo rustica across different group sizes: access to colorful males or favored nests?},
  author={Rebecca J. Safran},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
  • R. Safran
  • Published 15 February 2007
  • Biology
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
In most avian species, individuals are faced with two critical decisions at the start of a breeding season: choosing a breeding site and a mate. An analysis of these decisions in light of population-level patterns, such as group size variation in social breeders, can illuminate the causes and patterns of habitat selection behavior. Group sizes are variable in barn swallows; however, no clear and consistent benefits of group breeding have been found in this species, and it is puzzling as to why… 
Predictors and consequences of nest-switching behavior in Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)
Because nest-switching led to greater fledging success for second breeding attempts compared to birds that reused their nests, the results suggest that switching between nests is an adaptive reproductive strategy for Barn Swallows.
Beauty alone is insufficient: female mate choice in the barn swallow
All of the female mate choice criteria ever reported in the barn swallow are reviewed, emphasizing the importance of relatively inconspicuous male traits.
Morphological and genetic predictors of parental care in the North American barn swallowHirundo rustica erythrogaster
The results suggest that females do not pair with darker males in order to gain direct benefits in terms of his expected levels of parental care to shared offspring, but do themselves invest greater levels of care when paired to darker males.
Female mate choice based on territory quality in barn swallows
It is inferred that female swallows choose their mates based, in part, on territory quality, because males with better territories paired with females earlier, and hence bred earlier, than those with inferior territories.
Sex-specific fitness consequences of dispersal in Siberian jays
The hypothesis that the female-biased natal dispersal found in this and other bird species may come about through higher lifetime reproductive success of philopatric males than females is supported.
Conspecific cues encourage Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) prospecting, but not nesting, at new nesting structures
Conspecific vocalizations appeared to increase prospecting behaviour, but not the number of nests, at new nesting structures, suggesting that building shed-like structures may not be an effective method of mitigating loss of nesting habitat.
Neophobia and social tolerance are related to breeding group size in a semi-colonial bird
It is shown that neophobia and social tolerance of adults are strongly related to breeding group size, and this parallel between group size and group composition in terms of individual personality offers a better understanding of the observed diversity inbreeding group size in this species.
Group breeding in vertebrates: linking individual- and population-level approaches
An integrated method designed to categorize and explain a diversity of vertebrate social systems, with a focus on colonial breeding is described, demonstrating the power and utility of using individual-level decision making to explain larger-scale patterns of group living.
Low Level of Extra-Pair Paternity in a Population of the Barn Swallow Hirundo Rustica Gutturalis
It is recorded the lowest levels of paternity loss ever reported in a population of Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica, and the levels of extra-pair paternity were below 5% of offspring, which is considered worthy of explanation in monogamous birds.


Adaptive site selection rules and variation in group size of barn swallows: individual decisions predict population patterns.
The interaction of the cue-based site selection rule with the occurrence of site fidelity is discussed and how a consideration of individual-level decision rules can improve the understanding of variation in many social behaviors is discussed.
Nest-site selection in the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica: What predicts seasonal reproductive success?
I used observational and experimental data to test three hypotheses related to these factors in association with barn swallow nest reuse and found nest location per se is not an important factor defining the outcome of nest-site selection.
The reproductive ecology of a marked population of Barn Swallows as the Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State consistent with Snapp's (1976) conclusion that shortages of nesting habitat rather than direct benefits of group living are responsible for swallow coloniality.
Male tail streamer length does not predict apparent or genetic reproductive success in North American barn swallows Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
The results further corroborate recent suggestions that the function of sexual signals varies geographically in this species, although it is awaited additional experimental analyses on streamer lengths to understand the maintenance of sexual dimorphism in this trait.
Do male barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) experience a trade-off between the expression of multiple sexual signals?
Barn swallow males are not displaying multiple signals at the maximum possible level, implying that this system is open to unreliable communication, however, long-term trade-offs between signal expression and viability may prevent males from displaying both signals at higher rates.
Advantages and disadvantages of coloniality in the swallow, Hirundo rustica
  • A. Møller
  • Environmental Science
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1987
Plumage coloration, not length or symmetry of tail-streamers, is a sexually selected trait in North American barn swallows
Observations support the idea that ornamental traits can serve different functions among animal populations and suggest that geographic variation in different sexual signals may facilitate population divergence, which may ultimately lead to speciation.
There is a causal, positive relationship between male tail length and paternity and this study shows that female choice is a component of selection for larger male ornaments.
Variation in the Costs, Benefits, and Frequency of Nest Reuse by Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica)
The frequency of nest reuse and the costs and benefits of this behavior were investigated in a population of Barn Swallows at Delta Marsh, Manitoba, during 1984-1986, and it was suggested that in response to nest parasites, species that reuse nests frequently incorporate green vegetation in their nests to reduce parasite loads through repellent or toxic chemicals in the plants.
Habitat selection in two Australasian treecreepers: what cues should they use?
The results suggest that current conservation efforts to exclude grazing from remnant patches of eucalypt woodland may be inappropriate if not used in conjunction with other management actions, because such exclusion may dramatically increase shrub density and ground cover.