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The macroecology of passerine nest types, in the light of macroevolution

By Jay P. McEntee, Zoe Zelazny, J. Gordon Burleigh

Posted 06 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/360958

Passerine birds build a diversity of nests to lay and incubate eggs, and to house nestlings. Open cup, dome, and hole (or cavity) nests have distinct advantages and/or disadvantages related to predation risk and thermoregulation. We used macroecological and macroevolutionary approaches to test contrasting predictions from considering these consequences. Patterns of prevalence across latitude and elevation for the roofed nest types (holes and domes) provide no evidence that their thermoregulation benefits promote colonization of colder environments. These patterns are more consistent with the role of predation in determining where dome-nesting species in particular occur. Macroevolutionary analyses suggest that diversity patterns for nest types along major ecological gradients mostly arise from how clades with conserved nest types have diversified across gradients, rather than arising from local adaptation. Lastly, we reveal a negative relationship between body mass and latitude in hole-nesting passerines, which runs counter to Bergmann's rule.

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