Some Adaptations of Marsh-nesting Blackbirds

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Princeton University Press, 1980 - Nature - 295 pages
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The variety of social systems among the New World blackbirds (Family Icteridae) and the structural simplicity of their foraging environment provide excellent opportunities for testing theorics about the adaptive significance of their behavior. Here Gordon Orians presents the results of his many years of research on how blackbirds utilize their marsh environments during the breeding season. These results stem from information he gathered on three species during ten breeding seasons in the Pacific Northwest, on Red-winged blackbirds during two breeding seasons in Costa Rica, and on three species during one breeding season in Argentina.

The author uses models derived from Darwin's theory of natural selection to predict the behavior and morphology of individuals as well as the statistical properties of their populations. First he tests models that predict habitat selection, foraging behavior, territoriality, and mate selection. Then he considers some population patterns, especially range of use of environmental resources and overlap among species, that may result from those individual attributes. Professor Orianns concludes with an overview of the structure of bird communities in marshes of the world and the relation of these patterns to overall source availability in these simple but productive habitats.

  

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Contents

The Approach and the Subjects
3
12 The Theater
8
13 Materials and Methods
18
Marshes as Providers of Resources for Blackbirds
25
21 Quantity of Emergence
26
22 Temporal Pattern of Emergence
34
23 Abundance of Insects on the Uplands
42
The Adaptations Selection of Habitats Territories and Mates
48
55 Variability in Foods and Foraging
159
56 Conclusions
171
The Patterns Competition Overlap and Community Structure
173
61 ShortTerm Effects of Competition
174
62 LongTerm Effects of Competition
186
63 Competition and Size
189
Adaptations Among Argentine Marshnesting Blackbirds
194
71 The Species of Blackbirds Breeding in Argentine Marshes
195

31 Habitat Selection by Males
50
32 Habitat Selection by Females
53
33 Predictions and Tests about Habitat and Mate Selection
56
34 Sizes of Territories
73
35 The Cues Used by Blackbirds in Selecting Their Territories
80
36 Conclusions
86
The Adaptations Foraging Behavior
90
41 Theory
91
42 Tests of Foraging Theory
102
43 Tests of CPF Theory
131
44 Conclusions
138
The Patterns Variability in Use of Resources
141
52 Range of Nest Sites Occupied
149
53 Breeding Seasons
153
54 Clutch Sizes
155
72 Foods and Foraging
210
73 Patch Utilization While Foraging
216
74 Dietary Breadths
222
Of Birds and Marshes
226
82 Nonpasserine Birds in Marshes
239
83 Avian Social Systems in Marshes
241
84 Island Biogeography of Marshes
242
85 Effects of Blackbird Predation on Odonate
244
86 Conclusions
251
General Conclusions
253
Appendixes
255
References
275
Index
291
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