The materials used for nesting have important structural and nonstructural functions in bird nests. A number of bird species incorporate anthropogenic debris in their nests, but there are few systematic studies about such use by terrestrial birds. Here, we test whether the prevalence and amount of plastic twine differs among nests of Neotropical birds in an orange orchard. We found 78 nests, of which 21 (27%) contained plastic. The nests with plastic belonged to 5 species (Columbina talpacoti, Thamnophilus doliatus, Turdus amaurochalinus, Coryphospingus cucullatus, and Zonotrichia capensis), which differed by both the prevalence and amount of plastic in their nests. The prevalence of plastic was higher in T. doliatus nests than in Z. capensis nests, and the amount of plastic was greater in T. doliatus nests than in those of C. cucullatus and of Z. capensis. Our results suggest that the use of anthropogenic material in nest construction may depend on the suitability of its properties to specific nest characteristics.
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