Variation in growth of Brown-headed Cowbird(Molothrus ater) nestlings and energetic impactson their host parents

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Science Article 6


I tested several hypotheses about the plasticity of avian growth by comparing growth of Brown-headedCowbird (Molothrus ater) nestlings in 20 different host species. Growth of cowbird nestlings was not strongly correlatedwith host adult mass and nearly all hosts were able to provision cowbirds with enough food to grow at nearly thehighest observed rate. Cowbird growth was positively correlated with site latitude (which negatively covaried withmaximum temperature) and negatively correlated with the nestling period of the host species.

A. Marm Kilpatrick, Can. J. Zool. 80: 145-153 (2002)

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