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Nests, Eggs, and IncubationNew ideas about avian reproduction$
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D. Charles Deeming and S. James Reynolds

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718666.001.0001

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Functional properties of nests

Functional properties of nests

(p.29) Chapter 4 Functional properties of nests
Nests, Eggs, and Incubation

D.C. Deeming

M.C. Mainwaring

Oxford University Press

Nest building behaviours were traditionally thought to be innate, yet we now know that they involve considerable plasticity. Specifically, the materials used to build nests are changeable within the course of an individual’s lifetime and individuals use those materials that benefit either themselves or their offspring most. At the interspecific level, there is variation in the type and shape of nests built and the number of nests built per breeding season. At the intraspecific level meanwhile, there is variation in the time taken to build nests, the materials used to build them and the size of final nests. Such plasticity often serves to create a suitable microclimate for parents and offspring, but nests are also receptacles for eggs and nestlings. Thus, the design of nests is likely to reflect a trade-off between the requirement for a structural platform for the nest contents and for the creation of suitable micro-environments.

Keywords:   nest building materials, nest microclimates, nest structures, offspring development, predation risk, structural plasticity

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