An analysis of clutch-size in New World passerine birds



Variation in clutch-size among New World passerine birds was analysed with respect to four variables: body-mass, geographic latitude, the frequency of nest predation, and the structure of the nest. Data were analysed separately by averaging traits at three taxonomic levels: species, genus, and subfamily. Allometric scaling with body-mass did not account for significant variation in clutch-size regardless of the taxonomic level of analysis. Latitudinal effects on clutch-size were highly significant at all taxonomic levels. For species building small-pensile nests and open-cup nests, nest predation had a significant partial effect on clutch-size, with latitude held constant. When nest predation and latitude were held constant, clutch-size was significantly different among species building small-pensile nests, open-cup nests, and domed nests. These results suggest that New World passerine clutch-size is related to at least three variables: latitudinal effects, nest predation, and nest structure.