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Geographical trends in breeding parameters were studied in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca in the western Palaearctic. Predictions arising from the hypothesis that daylength and/or energy requirements of the brood explain latitudinal clutch size variation were tested. The nestling period decreased with latitude, but nestling mass on day 13 after hatching did not show a trend with latitude. The length of the daily activity period (working day) at the time of peak brood demand showed a quadratic relationship with latitude and did not increase linearly with daylight hours. The present study supports the hypothesis that latitudinal clutch size variation is influenced by the duration of the working day and the energy requirements of the brood. The balance between the energy requirements of the brood and the parents, in relation to the duration of working day and ambient temperature, are proposed to explain the latitudinal variation in clutch size in the Pied Flycatcher.