Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Latitudinal differences in the breeding phenology of Grey Warblers covary with the relationship to the prevalence of parasitism by Shining Bronze-Cuckoos

Michael G. Anderson A E , Brian J. Gill B , James V. Briskie C , Dianne H. Brunton A and Mark E. Hauber D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation Group, Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Albany Campus, Private Bag 102-904, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.

B Auckland War Memorial Museum, Private Bag 92018, Auckland, New Zealand.

C School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand.

D Department of Psychology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York, NY 10065, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: michaelgarethanderson@gmail.com

Emu 113(2) 187-191 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU12086
Submitted: 24 January 2012  Accepted: 29 January 2013   Published: 7 May 2013

Abstract

Variation in the temporal patterns of nest availability through the breeding season or across the geographical range of a host is expected to be an important selection pressure shaping the breeding biology of avian brood parasites. The archipelago-wide distribution of the endemic Grey Warbler (Gerygone igata) in New Zealand, and its parasitism by the specialist Shining Bronze-Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus), makes this a valuable system in which to study small-scale latitudinal gradients in host breeding phenology and the effects of these on the prevalence of brood parasitism. Nest records from throughout New Zealand and our study sites on both the North and South Islands indicated that, as expected, clutch-sizes were larger at higher, more southern, latitudes. Contrary to predictions, breeding began later and finished earlier, and usually involved only one brood on the North Island, compared with a longer breeding season with two broods on the South Island. Prevalence of brood parasitism covaried positively with latitude, suggesting that geographical patterns in breeding phenology of hosts may influence the prevalence of parasitism.

Additional Keywords: breeding biology, brood parasitism, Chalcites lucidus, clutch-size, Gerygone igata, latitude.


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