Proximate causes and fitness consequences of double brooding in female barn owls

Jabi Zabala, Xavier Lambin, Julien Soufflot, Philibert Soufflot, Delphine Chenesseau, Alexandre Millon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multiple brooding, reproducing twice or more per year, is an important component of life-history strategies. However, what proximate factors drive the frequency of multiple brooding and its fitness consequences for parents and offspring remains poorly known. Using long-term longitudinal data, we investigated double brooding in a barn owl population in France. We assessed the effects of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors and the consequences of double brooding on fledgling recruitment and female lifetime reproductive success. The occurrence of double brooding in the population, ranging from 0 to 87%, was positively related to the number of rodent prey stored at the nest. Females laying early in the season were more likely to breed twice and the probability of double brooding increased with smaller initial brood size, female age and the storage of wood mice at the nest early in the season. Fledglings from first broods recruited more often (8.2%) than those from single broods (3.8%) or second broods (3.3%), but this was primarily the consequence of laying dates, not brood type per se. Females producing two broods within a year, at least once in their lifetime, had higher lifetime reproductive success and produced more local recruits than females that did not (15.6 ± 8.1 vs. 6.1 ± 3.8 fledglings, 0.96 ± 1.2 vs. 0.24 ± 0.6 recruits). Our results suggests that the fitness benefits of double brooding exceed costs and that within-year variability in double brooding may be related to heterogeneity in individual/territory quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalOecologia
Early online date30 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2019

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Tyto alba
fitness
multiple brooding
reproductive success
nests
nest
Apodemus
laying date
brood size
rodents
rodent
France
life history
brooding
breeds
fledglings
cost

Keywords

  • Lifetime reproductive success
  • Reproductive tactics
  • Recruits
  • Individual heterogeneity
  • Brood type

Cite this

Proximate causes and fitness consequences of double brooding in female barn owls. / Zabala, Jabi; Lambin, Xavier; Soufflot, Julien; Soufflot, Philibert; Chenesseau, Delphine; Millon, Alexandre.

In: Oecologia, 30.11.2019, p. 1-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zabala, Jabi ; Lambin, Xavier ; Soufflot, Julien ; Soufflot, Philibert ; Chenesseau, Delphine ; Millon, Alexandre. / Proximate causes and fitness consequences of double brooding in female barn owls. In: Oecologia. 2019 ; pp. 1-13.
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note = "Acknowledgements We are grateful to all people having helped with the fieldwork over the years and to people having accepted to host nest boxes. C. Riols took part of the pellet analysis. P. Frederick, D. LaFlamme and S.M.R. Orzechowski provided a critical read of the manuscript. J.F. Therrien and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments that greatly improved a previous version of the ms. The organisation ‘La Choue’ has partially supported this study. JZ benefited from grant 659648, BetMon, of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement. Permission to handle and ring birds was granted by the Centre de Recherche sur la Biologie des Populations d’Oiseaux (MNHN Paris). Author contribution statement JS, PS, and DC: designed the field protocols and collected the data, and corrected and amended successive draft versions; JZ, XL, JS, and AM: designed the study; JZ: performed most analyses and wrote the first draft; and XL and AM: provided guidance, supervised analyses, and extensively contributed to the redaction of the MS.",
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N1 - Acknowledgements We are grateful to all people having helped with the fieldwork over the years and to people having accepted to host nest boxes. C. Riols took part of the pellet analysis. P. Frederick, D. LaFlamme and S.M.R. Orzechowski provided a critical read of the manuscript. J.F. Therrien and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments that greatly improved a previous version of the ms. The organisation ‘La Choue’ has partially supported this study. JZ benefited from grant 659648, BetMon, of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement. Permission to handle and ring birds was granted by the Centre de Recherche sur la Biologie des Populations d’Oiseaux (MNHN Paris). Author contribution statement JS, PS, and DC: designed the field protocols and collected the data, and corrected and amended successive draft versions; JZ, XL, JS, and AM: designed the study; JZ: performed most analyses and wrote the first draft; and XL and AM: provided guidance, supervised analyses, and extensively contributed to the redaction of the MS.

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N2 - Multiple brooding, reproducing twice or more per year, is an important component of life-history strategies. However, what proximate factors drive the frequency of multiple brooding and its fitness consequences for parents and offspring remains poorly known. Using long-term longitudinal data, we investigated double brooding in a barn owl population in France. We assessed the effects of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors and the consequences of double brooding on fledgling recruitment and female lifetime reproductive success. The occurrence of double brooding in the population, ranging from 0 to 87%, was positively related to the number of rodent prey stored at the nest. Females laying early in the season were more likely to breed twice and the probability of double brooding increased with smaller initial brood size, female age and the storage of wood mice at the nest early in the season. Fledglings from first broods recruited more often (8.2%) than those from single broods (3.8%) or second broods (3.3%), but this was primarily the consequence of laying dates, not brood type per se. Females producing two broods within a year, at least once in their lifetime, had higher lifetime reproductive success and produced more local recruits than females that did not (15.6 ± 8.1 vs. 6.1 ± 3.8 fledglings, 0.96 ± 1.2 vs. 0.24 ± 0.6 recruits). Our results suggests that the fitness benefits of double brooding exceed costs and that within-year variability in double brooding may be related to heterogeneity in individual/territory quality.

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