Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Breeding ecology of an Australian estrildid, the Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda)

Erica P. van Rooij A B and Simon C. Griffith A

A Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, 209 Culloden Road, Marsfield, NSW 2109, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: ericavanrooij@mail.com

Emu 111(4) 297-303 https://doi.org/10.1071/MU10092
Submitted: 23 December 2010  Accepted: 30 March 2011   Published: 13 October 2011

Abstract

We studied the breeding ecology of the Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) over three seasons between 2008 and 2010 in the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Breeding took place from February to September, with a peak in laying in March–April. Pairs produced up to three successful broods per season with a mean (±s.e.) clutch-size of 4.66 ± 1.13, mean broods of 3.98 ± 1.10 young, and an average of 3.87 ± 1.10 fledged young per successful nest. Nesting failure occurred frequently, with 66.2% of breeding attempts failing to fledge any offspring. In nests where at least one egg hatched (47% of nests), 87 ± 17% of the eggs hatched. In successful nests, 98 ± 9% of all nestlings fledged. Annual breeding success was relatively consistent over the three breeding seasons, with 26.8–40.8% of all eggs resulting in fledged young. Successful nesting attempts lasted an average of 39 ± 3.3 days, with both parents contributing to incubation (duration 13.6 ± 2.3 days) and brooding and feeding during the nestling period (duration 20.6 ± 2 days). Site- and mate-fidelity were high, with pairs staying together during and between breeding seasons and 60% of pairs breeding in the same area in a subsequent year.

Additional keywords: clutch, grass finch, hatch, mate-fidelity, reproductive ecology, site philopatry.


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