Open Access
Translator Disclaimer
1 July 2001 Laying Interruption in the Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Jan Pinowski, Miłosława Barkowska, Kyu-Hwang Hahm, Natalia Lebedeva
Author Affiliations +

The work was carried out in the villages of the łomianki commune near Warsaw, Poland (52°20′N, 20°50′E) in 1994 and 1995. From among 315 clutches of Tree Sparrows studied, 20 exhibited one-day interruptions in the laying of first and second broods, while 2 were characterised by two-day interruptions. Amongst third broods, there was just a single one-day interruption noted in each year of the study. Interruptions did not occur immediately prior to the laying of the last egg in a clutch. Only in the case of the first brood in 1995 could a period of cold account for interruptions; in the remaining cases, the phenomenon must have been influenced by non-meteorological factors. The Tree Sparrow resembles the House Sparrow Passer domesticus in having far fewer interruptions to laying than other small hole-nesting birds, such as tits Parus spp. This is probably a reflection of the genus Passer having evolved in dry areas, where the accumulation of body reserves in the female prior to laying is an adaptation reducing the length of the breeding period to match the time associated with the rainy season, when food is abundant.



C. D. Ankney , R. T. Alisauskas 1991. The use of nutrient reserves by waterfowl. Acta XX Congr. Intern. Ornithol., Christchurch, New Zealand, vol. 4: 2170–2176. Google Scholar


D. M. Bryant 1975. Breeding biology of House Martin Delichon urbica in relation to aerial insect abundance. Ibis 117: 198–216. Google Scholar


C. Carey 1996. Female reproductive energetics. In: C. Carey (ed.). Avian energetics and nutritional ecology. New York, pp. 324–374. Google Scholar


H.-Y. Chae 1998. Effect of inclement weather conditions on laying interruptions and clutch size of the Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans. Strix 16: 17–23. Google Scholar


A. A. Dhondt , R. Eyckerman , J. Huble 1983. Laying interruptions in tits Parus spp. Ibis 125: 370–376. Google Scholar


R. H. Drent , S. Daan 1980. The prudent parent: energetic adjustments in avian breeding. Ardea 68: 225–252. Google Scholar


L. von Haartmann 1990. The breeding time of the Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). In: J. Blondel, A. Gosier, J.-D. Lebreton, R. McCleery (eds.). Population biology of passerine birds. An integrated approach. NATO ASI Ser. vol. G 24. Berlin-Heidelberg, pp. 1–16. Google Scholar


D. C. Houston 1999. Nutritional constraints on breeding in birds. In: N. J. Adams, R. H. Slotov (eds). Proc. 22nd Intern. Ornithol. Congr., Birdlife South Africa, Johannesburg, pp. 52–66. Google Scholar


D. C. Houston , D. Donnan , P. J. Jones 1995. The source of the nutrients required for egg production in zebra finches Poephila guttata. J. Zool. (London) 235: 469–483. Google Scholar


P.J. Jones , P. Ward 1976. The level of reserve protein as the proximate factor controlling the timing of breeding and clutch-size in the Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea. Ibis 118: 547–574. Google Scholar


J. R. King 1973. Energetics of reproduction in birds. In: D. S. Farner (ed.). Breeding biology of birds. Natl. Acad. Sci., Washington, DC, pp. 78–107. Google Scholar


J. R. Krebs 1970. The efficiency of courtship feeding in the Blue Tits Parus caeruleus. Ibis 112: 108–110. Google Scholar


D. G. Krementz , C. D. Ankney 1986. Bioenergetics of egg production by female House Sparrows. Auk 103: 299–305. Google Scholar


D. G. Krementz , C. D. Ankney 1988. Changes in lipid and protein reserves and in diet of breeding House Sparrow. Can. J. Zool. 66: 950–956. Google Scholar


A. Lundberg , R. V. Alatalo 1992. The Pied Flycatcher T. & A. D. Poyser, London. Google Scholar


R. D. Magrath 1992. Seasonal changes in egg mass within and among clutches of birds: general explanations and a field study of the Blackbird Turdus merula. Ibis 134: 171–179. Google Scholar


T. Meijer , D. Masman , S. Daan 1989. Energetics on reproduction in female Kestrels. Auk 106: 549–559. Google Scholar


J.-A. Nilsson , E. Svensson 1993. The frequency and timing of laying gaps. Ornis Scand. 24: 122–126. Google Scholar


C. M. Perrins 1996. Eggs, egg formation and the timing of breeding. Ibis 138: 2–15. Google Scholar


B. Pinowska 1979. The effect of energy and building resources of females on the production of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus L.) population. Ekol. Pol. 27: 363–396. Google Scholar


S. L. Ramsay , D. C. Houston 1997. Nutritional constraints on egg production in the Blue Tit: a suplementary feeding study. J. Anim. Ecol. 66: 649–657. Google Scholar


S. L. Ramsay , D. C. Houston 1998. The effect of dietary aminoacid composition on egg production in Blue Tits. Proc. Royal Soc. London B 265: 1–5. Google Scholar


T. Royama 1966. A re-interpretation of courtship feeding. Bird Study 13: 116–119. Google Scholar


L. Schifferli 1976. Factors affecting weight and conditions in the House Sparrow particularly when breeding. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Oxford, Oxford. Google Scholar


L. Schifferli 1980. Changes in the fat reserves in female House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) during egg laying. Acta XVII Congr. Intern. Ornithol., Berlin, pp: 1129–1135. Google Scholar


K. H. Schmidt , H. J. Hamann 1983. Unterbrechung der Legefolge bei Höhlenbrütern. J. Ornithol. 124: 163–176. Google Scholar


D. Seel 1968. Clutch-size, incubation and hatching success in the House Sparrow and Tree Sparrow Passer spp. Ibis 110: 270–282. Google Scholar


E. T. Silva 1949. Nest record of the song thrush. Br. Birds 42: 97–111. Google Scholar


G. S. Simwat 1977. Studies on the nidification of House Sparrow, Passer domesticus (L.) in Ludhiana (Punjab). Punjab Agricult. Univ. J. Res. 14: 193–198. Google Scholar


J. D. Summers-Smith 1988. The Sparrows. Calton. Google Scholar


J. P. Veiga 1993. Prospective infanticide and ovulation retardation in free-living house sparrows. Anim. Behav. 45: 43–46. Google Scholar


W. Winkel 1970. Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Brutbiologie von Kohl- und Blaumeise (Parus major und Parus caeruleus). Über die Legeperiode, Eigrösse, Brutdauer, Nestlingsentwicklung und Reaktion bei Veränderung der Eizahl. J. Ornithol. 111: 154–174. Google Scholar


W. Winkel , D. Winkel 1974. Brutbiologische Untersuchungen am Trauerschnäpper (Ficedula hypoleuca) währent seiner Legeperiode. Vogelwelt 95: 60–70. Google Scholar


Y. Yom-Tov , J. Wright 1993. Effect of the heating nest boxes on egg laying in the Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus). Auk 110: 95–99 Google Scholar
Jan Pinowski, Miłosława Barkowska, Kyu-Hwang Hahm, and Natalia Lebedeva "Laying Interruption in the Tree Sparrow Passer montanus," Acta Ornithologica 36(1), 13-18, (1 July 2001).
Received: 1 May 2000; Accepted: 1 November 2000; Published: 1 July 2001

laying interruption
Passer montanus
Tree Sparrow
Get copyright permission
Back to Top