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Research report 2: Exploratory behaviour and territory quality in Great Tits (Parus major)

Ausems, A.N.M.A. (2014) Research report 2: Exploratory behaviour and territory quality in Great Tits (Parus major). Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Choosing a proper territory for reproduction is an important choice for many bird species. To understand how territory distribution comes about it is necessary to study what the effect of their behaviour is on this distribution. We measured exploratory behaviour in great tits (Parus major) using the classical observation room approach before breeding and a cage test during the breeding season. The birds explored the cage to find a way out and usually made calls when doing so. Territory quality was estimated using historical breeding data and current frass fall. Behaviour shown in the laboratory was not correlated with behaviour shown in the field. We found that male behaviour shown in the field had an effect on initial nest box choice, with more mobile males having nest boxes with a higher occupancy rate and a higher chance of having a successful nest, and males that called more had nest boxes with later laying dates. Female behaviour measured in the field had on itself no effect on territory choice, but pairs with on average more active parents tended to have territories and pre-breeding nest boxes with earlier laying dates and higher occupancy rates. Our results might indicate some important effects of behaviour on territory distribution, but the behavioural tests should be repeated and compared over several years before more convincing conclusions can be made.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:57
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:57

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