, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 169–176 | Cite as

Use of nest material as insecticidal and anti-pathogenic agents by the European Starling

  • L. Clark
  • J. Russell Mason
Original Papers


Passerine birds that reuse nest sites face an increased parasite and pathogen load. They also are more likely to use fresh green vegetation during nest construction. The present results demonstrate that at least one passerine, the European Starling: (a) selects a small subset of available plant species for inclusion in nest material; and (b) chooses plants whose volatiles are more likely to inhibit arthropod hatching and bacterial growth relative to a random subset of available vegetation. The results also show that preferred plants possess greater numbers of mono- and sesqueter-penes at higher concentrations relative to a random subset of available plants. These findings strongly suggest that starlings use chemicals in fresh vegetation as fumigants against parasites and pathogens.


Plant Species Bacterial Growth Small Subset Nest Site Random Subset 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Clark
    • 1
  • J. Russell Mason
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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