The functional significance of multiple nest-building in the Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis

Berg, Mathew, Beintema, Nienke H., Welbergen, Justin A. and Komdeur, Jan 2006, The functional significance of multiple nest-building in the Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis, Ibis : the international journal of avian science, vol. 148, no. 3, pp. 395-404, doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00482.x.

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Title The functional significance of multiple nest-building in the Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis
Author(s) Berg, MathewORCID iD for Berg, Mathew
Beintema, Nienke H.
Welbergen, Justin A.
Komdeur, Jan
Journal name Ibis : the international journal of avian science
Volume number 148
Issue number 3
Start page 395
End page 404
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2006
ISSN 0019-1019
Summary The vast majority of bird species build a nest in which to breed. Some species build more than one nest, but the function of most multiple nest-building remains unclear. Here we describe the unusual nest-building behaviour of the Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis, and test experimentally the hypotheses that multiple nest-building is related to individual condition or territory quality, and plays a role in mate assessment. Australian Reed Warblers built two types of nest structures: 'type I' nests, which were used for eggs and nestlings, and 'type II' nests, which were structurally distinct from type I nests, did not support eggs, nestlings or adults and were not essential for successful breeding. The number of type II nests built in each territory varied. Type II nests were only built before breeding had commenced in a territory and females were not observed participating in their construction, supporting a role in female mate choice. Birds provided with supplementary food built significantly more type II nests than control birds. However, supplementary-fed birds did not have greater pairing success, and the addition of further type II nests to territories did not increase the pairing rate or type II nest construction in those territories. There was no relationship between the presence of type II nests and either reproductive success or likelihood of nest predation. We discuss the implications of these results in light of previous suggestions regarding the function of multiple nest-building in birds.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00482.x
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Centre for Integrative Ecology
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