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1 December 2011 Nestling Food of European Hole-Nesting Passerines: Do We Know Enough to Test the Adaptive Hypotheses on Breeding Seasons?
Marta Cholewa, Tomasz Wesołowski
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Abstract

Hole-nesting passerines constitute a ‘model’ group for which importance of synchronisation between food availability — mainly caterpillars — and appearance of nestlings is commonly postulated. Is there an adequate set of data allowing one to prove this relationship? The recent climate change could lead to a mis-match between food peaks and nestlings' appearance. Do the data exist that show that the birds have switched to other food sources? We analyse data on nestling food of eleven European hole-nesting passerines (158 papers). The diet of some species is hardly known (< 100 broods observed), there are large gaps in geographical coverage (70% of data from five countries — Germany, Russia, Slovakia/Czech Republic, Poland and Great Britain) and most of studies do not meet the minimum requirement of representativeness (three seasons, ≥ 20 broods/season), which limits their external validity. The majority of investigations were done decades ago, in different conditions and most probably they cannot be treated as representative for the current situation. There is no study in which the past (before warming) and current nestling diet in the same local population have been compared, so, direct empirical support for the ‘mismatch’ idea is rather weak. Knowledge of nestling diet and its variation is far from adequate and new, properly designed, studies are needed.

Marta Cholewa and Tomasz Wesołowski "Nestling Food of European Hole-Nesting Passerines: Do We Know Enough to Test the Adaptive Hypotheses on Breeding Seasons?," Acta Ornithologica 46(2), 105-116, (1 December 2011). https://doi.org/10.3161/000164511X625874
Received: 1 June 2011; Accepted: 1 December 2011; Published: 1 December 2011
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