Reproduction of the Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) in relation to weather and colony size

Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) Science Article 1


From 1994 to 1999, we investigated how climatic conditions influence the laying dates and number of fledged young of the Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris, a poorly studied colonial martin that, like other aerial feeding birds, is supposed to be highly dependent on weather conditions. Laying dates were concentrated in May and the first half of June. The mean annual laying date differed significantly among years; however, probably because of the small absolute difference between early and late years, there was no influence on the clutch size nor on the number of fledged young. Mean clutch size was 4.4 ??0.9 eggs, the hatching rate was 80.2 percent, and the average number of fledged young was 3.1 ??1.9. Temperature and rainfall in the days before laying and during the incubation period did not influence the breeding success, while in the chick rearing period there was a negative relationship between temperature and number of fledged young. It is supposed that high temperature can negatively influence breeding success through the drying up of small rivers where parents find food (mainly aquatic insects). In our study area the Crag Martins nested solitarily or in small colonies (mean 3.5 ??1.9 nests). Colony size did not influence the laying date, the clutch size or the number of successfully fledged young.

Camilla Acquarone, Marco Cucco and Giorgio Malacarne, Ornis Fennica 80:@-@. 2003

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