The breeding biology of the Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra in the Central Pyrenees

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:Clouet, M
Journal:Bird Study
Volume:47
Issue:2
Date Published:2000
ISBN Number:0006-3657
Keywords:Europe, France, Fringillidae, Loxia, Loxia curvirostra, Northern Europe
Abstract:The breeding biology of the Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra was studied over ten consecutive years in forests of Mountain Pine Pinus uncinata in the Pyrenees, France. The breeding season lasts from summer to the next spring following the maturation and the opening of the pine cones. Pairs with dependent young were most common in November and March?May. The greatest number of clutches was observed in December and January (53%, n = 30). Average clutch size was 3.43 eggs (sd = ±0.57; n = 30), the number of fledged young was 1.32 per completed clutch (sd = ±1.7; n = 25) and the proportion of breeding attempts that were successful was 27.8% in the winter/spring period (n = 36). The number of successful pairs was found to be positively correlated to the number of cones, and in the winter/spring period negatively correlated to the mean depth of snow. Breeding only failed completely during the year in which the density of birds was highest. In years with a good cone crop, breeding that starts early and continues over a long period appears to be an adaptation which increases productivity in this sedentary population dependent on fluctuating food resources. An irruption by birds from northern Europe in 1990 did not affect the numbers or breeding success of the Pyrenean crossbills.The breeding biology of the Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra was studied over ten consecutive years in forests of Mountain Pine Pinus uncinata in the Pyrenees, France. The breeding season lasts from summer to the next spring following the maturation and the opening of the pine cones. Pairs with dependent young were most common in November and March?May. The greatest number of clutches was observed in December and January (53%, n = 30). Average clutch size was 3.43 eggs (sd = ±0.57; n = 30), the number of fledged young was 1.32 per completed clutch (sd = ±1.7; n = 25) and the proportion of breeding attempts that were successful was 27.8% in the winter/spring period (n = 36). The number of successful pairs was found to be positively correlated to the number of cones, and in the winter/spring period negatively correlated to the mean depth of snow. Breeding only failed completely during the year in which the density of birds was highest. In years with a good cone crop, breeding that starts early and continues over a long period appears to be an adaptation which increases productivity in this sedentary population dependent on fluctuating food resources. An irruption by birds from northern Europe in 1990 did not affect the numbers or breeding success of the Pyrenean crossbills.
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00063650009461174
Short Title:Bird Study
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