, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 453-457

First online:

Costs of incubation and immunocompetence in the collared flycatcher

  •  M. CichońAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 3, 30-387 Kraków, Poland

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This paper investigates the costs of incubation in terms of reduced reproductive success and investigates whether incubation competes with immune function for resources. I performed a clutch size manipulation experiment in which two eggs were either removed from or added to the nests of collared flycatchers, Ficedula albicollis, for 1 week during incubation and subsequently returned to their original nests before hatching. To induce immune response, the females were challenged with sheep red blood cells. While the duration of incubation, hatching success and fledgling number did not differ between experimental groups, fledgling condition was significantly lower in broods that had been enlarged during incubation. Neither the females' condition nor their ability to respond to a novel antigen differed between treatments. The relationship between antibody production and female condition was significantly positive, but only among females incubating reduced clutches. I conclude that the costs of incubation in the collared flycatcher are not negligible and are manifested only at the chick-rearing phase.

Reproductive costs State-dependent strategies Antibody production Body condition Haemagglutination