Brood size of four titmice (Paridae) during 1962–2001
Keywords:tits, breeding biology, population studies, climate effects, monitoring, survey
Breeding success of four titmice breeding in forests was investigated during 1962–2001. Three of them, Coal Tit Parus ater, Willow Tit Parus montanus and Marsh Tit Parus palustris have shown declining population trends in the annual monitoring of bird species in Sweden. The fourth species, the Crested Tit Parus cristatus, has shown a stable population size. Two of the declining species, Marsh Tit and Coal Tit, had the largest broods during the most recent decade and significantly positive trends in brood sizes during the investigated period, whereas the Willow Tit and Crested Tit had stable brood sizes. Our study indicates that the declines of the Coal Tit, Willow Tit and Marsh Tit populations in Sweden cannot be explained by changes in brood size, number of dead nestlings or number of un-hatched eggs. The stable population size of Crested Tit might be explained by its habit of breeding early in the season, which has become more pronounced during the most recent decades, probably in order to match breeding to the earlier spring arrival nowadays.
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Copyright (c) 2010 Hans Ryttman, K Susanna S Hall-Karlsson
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