Comparative life history of the south temperate Cape Penduline Tit (Anthoscopus minutus) and north temperate Remizidae species

Journal of Ornithology
By: , and 



We studied the breeding biology of the south temperate Cape Penduline Tit (Anthoscopus minutus) in order to compare its life history traits with those of related north temperate members of the family Remizidae, namely the Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus) and the Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps). We used this comparison to test key predictions of three hypotheses thought to explain latitudinal variation in life histories among bird species—the seasonality and food limitation hypothesis, nest predation hypothesis and adult mortality hypothesis. Contrary to the general pattern of smaller clutch size and lower adult mortality among south-temperate birds living in less seasonal environments, the Cape Penduline Tit has a clutch size larger than that of the Verdin and similar to that of the Eurasian Penduline Tit, and higher adult mortality than both of the other two species. The most notable difference between the Cape Penduline Tit and the two other species is in parental behavioural strategy, with the former exhibiting bi-parental care at all stages of nesting together with facultative cooperative breeding, whereas the Eurasian Penduline Tit has uni-parental care and the Verdin has a combination of female-only incubation but bi-parental nestling care. Consequently, in comparison to the other two species, the Cape Penduline Tit exhibits greater nest attentiveness during incubation, a similar per-nestling feeding rate and greater post-fledging survival. Its relatively large clutch size, high parental investment and associated high adult mortality in a less seasonal environment are consistent with key predictions of the adult mortality hypothesis but not with key predictions of the seasonality and food limitation hypothesis in explaining life history variation among Remizidae species. These results add to a growing body of evidence of the importance of age-specific mortality in shaping life history evolution.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparative life history of the south temperate Cape Penduline Tit (Anthoscopus minutus) and north temperate Remizidae species
Series title Journal of Ornithology
DOI 10.1007/s10336-016-1417-4
Volume 158
Issue 2
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 9 p.
First page 569
Last page 577
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