Data from: Nest survival in year-round breeding tropical Red-capped Larks (Calandrella cinerea) increases with higher nest abundance but decreases with higher invertebrate availability and rainfall

  • Joseph Mwangi (Ornithology Section, Dept of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya) (Contributor)
  • Henry Ndithia (Contributor)
  • Rosemarie Kentie (Zoology Dept, Univ. of Oxford) (Contributor)
  • Muchane Muchai (Contributor)
  • Irene Tieleman (Contributor)



Nest survival is critical to breeding in birds and plays an important role in life-history evolution and population dynamics. Studies evaluating the proximate factors involved in explaining nest survival and the resulting temporal patterns are biased in favor of temperate regions. Yet, such studies are especially pertinent to the tropics, where nest predation rates are typically high and environmental conditions often allow for year-round breeding. To tease apart the effects of calendar month and year, population-level breeding activity and environmental conditions, we studied nest survival over a 64-month period in equatorial, year-round breeding red-capped larks Calandrella cinerea in Kenya. We show that daily nest survival rates varied with time, but not in a predictable seasonal fashion among months or consistently among years. We found negative influences of flying invertebrate biomass and rain on nest survival and higher survival of nests when nests were more abundant, which suggests that nest predation resulted from incidental predation. Although an increase in nest predation is often attributed to an increase in nest predators, we suggest that in our study, it may be caused by altered predator activity resulting from increased activity of the primary prey, invertebrates, rather than activity of the red-capped larks. Our results emphasize the need to conduct more studies in Afro-tropical regions because proximate mechanisms explaining nest predation can be different in the unpredictable and highly variable environments of the tropics compared with the relatively predictable seasonal changes found in temperate regions. Such studies will aid in better understanding of the environmental influences on life-history variation and population dynamics in birds.,Nest survival in year-round breeding tropical Red-capped LarksYear round nest monitoring data on Red-capped Larks collected in the field between the period 2011-2016. Also included are: (1) weather data on rain, maximum and minimum temperature collected with a local weather station located at the field site, (20 invertebrates biomass data sampled monthly as a proxy for food availability and (3) nest index quantifying number of new nests found in a month per 10 person hours of search effort as a measure on nest abundanceNest success Red_capped lark.xlsx,
Date made available9-Jul-2018
PublisherUniversity of Groningen

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