Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 69, Issue 10, pp 1603–1615 | Cite as

Facultative interspecific brood parasitism in tits: a last resort to coping with nest-hole shortage

  • Rafael Barrientos
  • Javier Bueno-Enciso
  • Eva Serrano-Davies
  • Juan José Sanz
Original Article

Abstract

We studied the occurrence of facultative interspecific brood parasitism (eggs from two species incubated by a single female) in two bird species, the blue (Cyanistes caeruleus) and the great tit (Parus major). These species are secondary cavity nesters. We monitored 38 forest plots of variable size over 3 years. We found a total of 39 mixed-species clutches in 1285 nests, representing a prevalence of 3.0 %, but it reached 7.2 % in small woodlands. Seventeen mixed-species clutches involved blue tit facultative interspecific brood parasitism, with the same number of great tits usurping and directly laying in blue tit clutches. The higher the nest-box occupation rate, the greater the prevalence of mixed-species clutches of any origin. However, the two tit species behaved differently when faced with nest-hole shortage, with blue tits dumping one or two eggs into clutches incubated by great tits and these taking over the entire blue tit clutch. Nest takeovers were more frequent at the end of the season. These differences in behaviour are likely mediated by differing dominance status, with great tits being larger. The difference in size could also explain why great tit chicks presented larger hatching and fledging rates than their blue tit broodmates. These rates were lower in blue tit chicks from mixed-species broods compared with pure ones, and no advantages were found in usurper great tit chicks compared to pure broods. Mixed-species clutches appear to be a response to nest-hole shortage, a concept that we have termed the ‘last resort hypothesis’.

Keywords

Cyanistes caeruleus Forest fragmentation Last resort hypothesis Nest parasitism Parus major Sibling rivalry 

Supplementary material

265_2015_1972_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (49.7 mb)
ESM 1The online version of this article (xxx) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. (PDF 50919 kb)

References

  1. Aitken KEH, Martin K (2008) Resource selection plasticity and community responses to experimental reduction of a critical resource. Ecology 89:971–980CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Aitken KEH, Martin K (2012) Experimental test of nest-site limitation in mature mixed forests of central British Columbia, Canada. J Wildlife Manage 76:557–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baba R, Nagata Y, Yamagishi S (1990) Brood parasitism and egg robbing among three fresh-water fish. Anim Behav 40:776–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrientos R (2010) Retention of native vegetation within the plantation matrix improves its conservation value for a generalist woodpecker. Forest Ecol Manag 260:595–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blondel J, Aronson J (1999) Biology and wildlife of the Mediterranean region. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Broggi J, Senar JC (2009) Brighter great tit parents build bigger nests. Ibis 151:588–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Burnham KP, Anderson DR, Huyvaert KP (2011) AIC model selection and multimodel inference in behavioral ecology: some background, observations, and comparisons. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 65:23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cervo R (2006) Polistes wasps and their social parasites: an overview. Ann Zool Fenn 43:531–549Google Scholar
  10. Cervo R, Macinai V, Dechigi F, Turillazzi S (2004) Fast growth of immature brood in a social parasite wasp: a convergent evolution between avian and insect cuckoos. Am Nat 164:814–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cramp S, Perrins CM (1993) The birds of the western palearctic, volume VII. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Davies NB (2000) Cuckoos, cowbirds and other cheats. T. & A.D. Poyser, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Davies NB, Bourke AFG, Brooke MD (1989) Cuckoos and parasitic ants: interspecific brood parasitism as an evolutionary arms race. Trends Ecol Evol 9:274–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dhondt AA, Adriaensen F (1999) Experiments on competition between great and blue tit: effects on blue tit reproductive success and population processes. Ostrich 70:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dickens M, Berridge D, Hartley IR (2008) Biparental care and offspring begging strategies: hungry nestling blue tits move towards the father. Anim Behav 75:167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dolenec Z (2002) A mixed brood of nuthatch (Sitta europaea) and great tit (Parus major) species. Nat Croat 11:103–105Google Scholar
  17. Field JP (1992) Intraspecific parasitism as an alternative reproductive tactic in nest-building wasps and bees. Biol Rev 67:79–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. García-Navas V, Ferrer ES, Bueno-Enciso J, Barrientos R, Sanz JJ, Ortego J (2014a) Extrapair paternity in Mediterranean blue tits: socioecological factors and the opportunity for sexual selection. Behav Ecol 25:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. García-Navas V, Ferrer ES, Serrano-Davies E (2014b) Experimental evidence for parental, but not parentally biased, favouritism in relation to offspring size in Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus. Ibis 156:404–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Griffith SC, Barr I, Sheldon BC, Rowe LV, Burke T (2009) Egg pattering is not a reliable indicator of intraspecific brood parasitism in the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus. J Avian Biol 40:337–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hansen BT, Slagsvold T (2003) Rival imprinting: interspecifically cross-fostered tits defend their territories against heterospecific intruders. Anim Behav 65:1117–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hansen BT, Slagsvold T (2004) Early learning affects social dominance: interspecifically cross-fostered tits become subdominant. Behav Ecol 15:262–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hansen BT, Johannessen LE, Slagsvold T (2008) Imprinted species recognition lasts for life in free-living great tits and blue tits. Anim Behav 75:921–927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hansen BT, Johannessen LE, Slagsvold T (2009) Interspecific cross-fostering affects mate guarding behaviour in great tits (Parus major). Behaviour 146:1349–1361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoyt DW (1979) Practical methods of estimating volume and fresh weight of bird eggs. Auk 96:73–77Google Scholar
  26. Jacot A, Valcu M, van Oers K, Kempenaers B (2009) Experimental nest site limitation affects reproductive strategies and parental investment in a hole-nesting passerine. Anim Behav 77:1075–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kempenaers B, Pinxten R, Eens M (1995) Intraspecific brood parasitism in two tit Parus species: occurrence and responses to experimental parasitism. J Avian Biol 26:114–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kent DI, Fisher JD, Marliave JB (2011) Interspecific nesting in marine fishes: spawning of the spinynose sculpin, Asemichthys taylori, on the eggs of the buffalo sculpin, Enophrys bison. Ichthyol Res 58:355–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krakauer AH, Kimball RT (2009) Interspecific brood parasitism in galliform birds. Ibis 151:373–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lindén M, Gustafsson L, Part T (1992) Selection on fledging mass in the collared flycatcher and the great tit. Ecology 73:336–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lyon BE, Eadie JM (1991) Mode of development and interspecific avian brood parasitism. Behav Ecol 2:309–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lyon BE, Eadie JM (2008) Conspecific brood parasitism in birds: a life-history perspective. Annu Rev Ecol Evol S 39:343–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacWhirter RB (1989) On the rarity of intraspecific brood parasitism. Condor 91:485–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Merilä J (1994) Two mixed clutches of Blue Tits Parus caeruleus and Collared Flycatchers Ficedula albicollis. Ornis Svec 4:188–189Google Scholar
  35. Newton I (1994) The role of nest sites in limiting the numbers of hole-nesting birds: a review. Biol Conserv 70:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nour N, Currie D, Matthysen E, Van Damme R, Dhondt A (1998) Effects of habitat fragmentation on provisioning rates, diet and breeding success in two species of tit (great tit and blue tit). Oecologia 114:522–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oetting S, Bischof HJ (1996) Sexual imprinting in female zebra finches: changes in preferences as an effect of adult experience. Behaviour 133:387–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Oetting S, Pröve E, Bischof HJ (1995) Sexual imprinting as a two-stage process: mechanisms of information storage and stabilization. Anim Behav 50:393–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Payne RB (1977) Ecology of brood parasitism in birds. Annu Rev Ecol Evol S 8:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Peig J, Green AJ (2009) New perspectives for estimating body condition from mass/length data: the scaled mass index as an alternative method. Oikos 118:1883–1891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Petrassi F, Sorace A, Tanda F, Consiglio C (1998) Mixed clutches of Blue tits Parus caeruleus and Great Tits Parus major in nest boxes in Central Italy. Ornis Svec 8:49–52Google Scholar
  42. Petrie M, Møller AP (1991) Laying eggs in others’ nests: intraspecific brood parasitism in birds. Trends Ecol Evol 6:315–320CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Robles H, Ciudad C, Matthysen E (2011) Tree-cavity occurrence, cavity occupation and reproductive performance of secondary cavity-nesting birds in oak forests: the role of traditional management practices. Forest Ecol Manag 261:1428–1435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Robles H, Ciudad C, Matthysen E (2012) Responses to experimental reduction and increase of cavities by a secondary cavity-nesting bird community in cavity-rich Pyrenean oak forests. Forest Ecol Manag 277:46–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rohwer FC, Freeman S (1989) The distribution of conspecific nest parasitism in birds. Can J Zool 67:239–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rothstein SI (1990) A model system for coevolution: avian brood parasitism. Annu Rev Ecol Evol S 21:481–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Saitou T (2001) Floaters as intraspecific brood parasites in the grey starling Sturnus cineraceus. Ecol Res 16:221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Samplonius JM, Both C (2014) A case of a three species mixed brood after two interspecific nest takeovers. Ardea 102:105–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sandell MI, Diemer M (1999) Intraspecific brood parasitism: a strategy for floating females in the European starling. Anim Behav 57:197–202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sato T (1986) A brood parasitic catfish of mouthbrooding cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika. Nature 323:58–59CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Semel B, Sherman PW (2001) Intraspecific parasitism and nest-site competition in wood ducks. Anim Behav 61:787–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Slagsvold T (1998) On the origin and rarity of interspecific nest parasitism in birds. Am Nat 152:264–272CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Slagsvold T, Hansen BT (2001) Sexual imprinting and the origin of obligate brood parasitism in birds. Am Nat 158:354–367CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Slagsvold T, Hansen BT, Johannessen LE, Lifjeld JT (2002) Mate choice and imprinting in birds studied by cross-fostering in the wild. Proc R Soc Lond B 269:1449–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sorenson MD (1991) The functional-significance of parasitic egg-laying and typical nesting in redhead ducks: an analysis of individual behavior. Anim Behav 42:771–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Strubbe D, Matthysen E (2009) Experimental evidence for nest-site competition between invasive ring-necked parakeets (Psittacula krameri) and native nuthatches (Sitta europaea). Biol Conserv 142:1588–1594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Suzuki TN, Tsuchiya Y (2010) Feeding a foreign chick: a case of a mixed brood of two tit species. Wilson J Ornithol 122:618–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Svensson L (ed) (1984) Identification guide to European passerines. Ugga, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  59. Tallamy DW (2005) Egg dumping in insects. Annu Rev Entomol 50:347–370CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. ten Cate C, Vos DR (1999) Sexual imprinting and evolutionary processes in birds: a reassessment. Adv Stud Behav 28:1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tinbergen JM, Boerlijst MC (1990) Nestling weight and survival in individual great tits (Parus major). J Anim Ecol 59:1113–1127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tomás G, Merino S, Martínez-de la Puente J, Moreno J, Morales J, Rivero-de Aguilar J (2013) Nest size and aromatic plants in the nest as sexually selected female traits in blue tits. Behav Ecol 24:926–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vedder O, Kingma SA, Engelhardt N, Korsten P, Groothuis TGG, Komdeur J (2007) Conspecific brood parasitism and egg quality in blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus. J Avian Biol 38:625–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Warton DI, Hui FKC (2011) The arcsine is asinine: the analysis of proportions in ecology. Ecology 92:3–10CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Winkel W (1970) Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Brutbiologie von Kohl- und Blaumeise (Parus major und P. caeruleus). J Ornithol 111:154–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yom-Tov Y (1980) Intraspecific nest parasitism in birds. Biol Rev 55:93–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yom-Tov Y (2001) An updated list and some comments on the occurrence of intraspecific nest parasitism in birds. Ibis 143:133–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Barrientos
    • 1
  • Javier Bueno-Enciso
    • 1
  • Eva Serrano-Davies
    • 1
  • Juan José Sanz
    • 2
  1. 1.Área de Zoología, Departamento de Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias del Medio AmbienteUniversidad de Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN-CSIC)MadridSpain

Personalised recommendations