, Volume 140, Issue 1, pp 52–60 | Cite as

Egg size and offspring performance in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis): a within-clutch approach

  • Miloš Krist
  • Vladimír Remeš
  • Lenka Uvírová
  • Petr Nádvorník
  • Stanislav Bureš
Population Ecology


Adaptive within-clutch allocation of resources by laying females is an important focus of evolutionary studies. However, the critical assumption of these studies, namely that within-clutch egg-size deviations affect offspring performance, has been properly tested only rarely. In this study, we investigated effects of within-clutch deviations in egg size on nestling survival, weight, fledgling condition, structural size and offspring recruitment to the breeding population in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). Besides egg-size effects, we also followed effects of hatching asynchrony, laying sequence, offspring sex and paternity. There was no influence of egg size on nestling survival, tarsus length, condition or recruitment. Initially significant effect on nestling mass disappeared as nestlings approached fledging. Thus, there seems to be limited potential for a laying female to exploit within-clutch egg-size variation adaptively in the collared flycatcher, which agrees with the majority of earlier studies on other bird species. Instead, we suggest that within-clutch egg-size variation originates from the effects of proximate constraints on laying females. If true, adaptive explanations for within-clutch patterns in egg size should be invoked with caution.


Cross-fostering Intraclutch Maternal effects Nestling growth Offspring fitness 



We thank E. Tkadlec, K. Weidinger and several anonymous referees for valuable comments on or discussion of the manuscript, and J. Stříteský for exceptional field co-operation. K. Weidinger kindly provided us with plastic eggs. We thank forest enterprise Čechy pod Kosířem for providing the nest-boxes and caravan needed for this work. M. K. thanks Kačenka for everyday support. This study was supported by a grant from the Czech Ministry of Education (MSM 153100012) and from GAČR (no. 206/03/0215). The study was approved and supervised by the Ethical Committee of Palacký University and complies with the current law of the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miloš Krist
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vladimír Remeš
    • 2
  • Lenka Uvírová
    • 3
  • Petr Nádvorník
    • 3
    • 4
  • Stanislav Bureš
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Museum of Natural HistoryOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Laboratory of OrnithologyPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Cell Biology and GeneticsPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

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