CLUTCH-SIZE, INCUBATION AND HATCHING SUCCESS IN THE HOUSE SPARROW AND TREE SPARROW PASSER SPP. AT OXFORD

Authors


Summary

Clutch-size, incubation and hatching success were studied in P. domesticus and P. montanus in 1961 and 1963–64 at Oxford. The most frequent clutch-size was four eggs in P. domesticus and five eggs in P. montanus. With one exception, colonies of P. domesticus showed no significant annual or local variations in its mean clutch-size; in P. montanus, however, there were significant annual variations in the mean clutch-size. Both species showed a seasonal increase followed by a decrease in their mean clutch-sizes.

Partial incubation occurred during the laying period of the clutch; sufficient incubation for continuous development of the embryo was apparently achieved when the last egg had been laid in clutches of two and three eggs in P. domesticus and in clutches of four eggs in P. montanus, but when the penultimate egg had been laid in larger clutches of both species. On average, hatching in P. domesticus occurred more or less synchronously in all eggs in clutches of two and three eggs, and in all eggs except the last one laid in larger clutches; the last egg in the larger clutches hatched up to a day after the others. It is suggested that this pattern of hatching was brought about by the pattern of incubation during the laying period.

P. domesticus had a lower hatching success than P. montanus, probably because fewer of its eggs were fertile.

Ancillary