Translator Disclaimer
1 July 2002 The Effect of Egg Size on Hatching Rate in the Tree Sparrow Passer montanus (Study in Central Poland)
Author Affiliations +

The analysis covered 1332 Tree Sparrow eggs, 1053 of them hatched, in 257 clutches of which 114 were fully successful, 119 partially so, and 24 were deserted. The mean egg mass in deserted clutches was lower than in clutches where hatching success was total or partial but not significantly so. The mean hatching success per clutch increased with the mean egg mass. The individual eggs in fully hatched clutches weighed significantly more (2.21 g) than those in partially hatched clutches (2.17 g), and were also heavier than “infertile” eggs (2.14 g). During nest inspections to ascertain the egg laying sequence, the egg mass in 5-egg clutches with full and partial hatching success was found to be higher than in deserted clutches. The eggs in fully hatched clutches were broader than “infertile” eggs.



C. D. Ankney , S. L. Johnson 1985. Variation in weight and composition of Brown-headed Cowbird eggs. Condor 87: 296–299. Google Scholar


T. R. Birkhead , J. P. Veiga , F. Fletcher 1995. Sperm competition and unhatched eggs in the House Sparrow. J. Avian Biol. 26: 343–345. Google Scholar


D. Blomqvist , O. C. Johansson , F. Götmark 1997. Parental quality and egg size affect chick survival in a precocial bird, the lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Oecologia 110: 18–24. Google Scholar


A. M. Bolotnikov , A. I. Shurakov , J. N. Kamenskiy , L. N. Dobrinskiy 1985. [Ecology of early onthogenesis of birds]. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Ural Sci. Centr., Sverdlovsk. Google Scholar


A. M. Bolotnikov , L. F. Skryleva , V. A. Tarasov , V. Z. Angal't 1978. On diversity in ova quality of the same clutch and survival of nestlings in Corvus frugilegus. Ekologija 2: 86–88. Google Scholar


J. V. Briskie , S. G. Sealy 1990. Variation in size and shape of least flycatcher eggs. J. Field. Ornithol. 61: 180–191. Google Scholar


D. M. Bryant 1978. Establishment of weight hierarchies in the broods of House Martins Delichon urbica. Ibis 120: 16–26. Google Scholar


P. J. Cordero , S. C. Griffith , J. M. Aparicio , D. T. Parkin 2000. Sexual dimorphism in house sparrow eggs. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 48: 353–357. Google Scholar


D. G. Dawson 1972. The breding ecology of House Sparrows. PhD thesis, University of Oxford, Oxford. Google Scholar


R. Dufva 1996. Blood parasites, health, reproductive success and egg volume in female Great Tits Parus major. J. Avian Biol. 27: 83–87. Google Scholar


S. L. Encabo , E. Barba , J. A. Gil-Delgado , J. S. Monros 2001. Fitness consequences of egg shape variation: a study on two passerines and comments on the optimal egg shape. Ornis Fennica 78: 83–92. Google Scholar


W. L. Hill 1995. Intraspecific variation in egg composition. Wilson Bull. 107: 382–387. Google Scholar


A. Järvinen , R. A. Väisänen 1983. Egg size and related reproductive traits in a southern passerine Ficedula hypoleuca breeding in an extreme northern environment. Ornis Scand. 14: 253–262. Google Scholar


Z. Jopek, E. Kucharczak, J. Pinowski 1995. The concentration of iron, zinc, copper and lead in sparrow (Passer spp.) eggs. In: J. Pinowski, B. P. Kavanagh, B. Pinowska (eds). Nestling mortality of granivorous birds due to microorganisms and toxic substances: synthesis. PWN, Warszawa, pp. 181–202. Google Scholar


W. D. Koenig 1982. Ecological and social factors affecting hatchability of eggs. Auk 101: 439–450. Google Scholar


P. Koivunen , E. S. Nyholm , S. Sulkava 1975. Ocurrence and breeding of the little bunting Emberiza pusilla in Kuusamo (NE Finland). Ornis Fennica 52 : 85–96. Google Scholar


R. D. Magrath 1992. The effect of egg mass onthe growth and survival of blackbirds: a field experiment. J. Zool. Lond. 227: 639–653. Google Scholar


R. K. Murton , N. J. Westwood , A. J. Isaacson 1974. Factors affecting egg-weight, body-weight, and moult of the Wood pigeon Columba palumbus. Ibis 116: 52–73. Google Scholar


J. A. Nilsson , E. Svensson 1993. Causes and consequences of egg mass variation between and within Blue Tit clutches. J. Zool. Lond. 230: 469–481. Google Scholar


A. J. van Noordwijk , L. C. P. Keizer , J. H. van Balen , W. Scharloo 1981. Genetic variation in egg dimensions in natural population in Great Tit. Genetica 55: 221–232. Google Scholar


N. Nur 1986. Alternative reproductive tactics in birds: individual variation in clutch size. In: P. R. G. Batson, P. H. Klopfer (eds). Perspective in ethology, Vol.7, pp. 49–105. Google Scholar


R. J. O'Connor 1979. Egg weights and brood reduction in the European swift (Apus apus). Condor 81: 133–145. Google Scholar


M. Ojanen 1983a. Significance of variation in egg traits in birds, with special reference to passerines.Acta Univ. Oul. A., 154, Biol., 20: 5–4. Google Scholar


M. Ojanen 1983b. Composition of the eggs of the Great Tit Parus major and the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. Ann. Zool. Fennici 20: 57–63. Google Scholar


M. Ojanen 1983c. Effects of laying sequence and ambient temperature on the composition of eggs of the Great Tit Parus major and the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. Ann. Zool. Fennici 20: 65–71. Google Scholar


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


J. Pinowski 1968. Fecundity, mortality, numbers and biomass dynamics of a population of the Tree Sparrow (Passer m. montanus L.). Ekol. Pol. 16: 1–58. Google Scholar


J. Pinowski, M. Barkowska, K-H Hahm, N. Lebedeva 2001. Variation in Tree Sparrow Passer montanus eggs. Intern. Stud. Sparrows 27–28: 5–34. Google Scholar


J. Pinowski, A. Żukowski, R. Szczepanowski, A. Haman, P. Kamiński 1995a. Accumulation of organochlorine insecticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in eggs and nestlings (Passer spp.) and their possible health effects. In: J. Pinowski, B. P. Kavanagh, B. Pinowska (eds). Nestling mortality of granivorous birds due to microorganisms and toxic substances: synthesis. PWN, Warszawa, pp. 223–250. Google Scholar


J. Pinowski, M. Mazurkiewicz, R. Pawiak, A. Haman 1995b. Lethal effects of microorganisms on embryos of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus). In: J. Pinowski, B. P. Kavanagh, B. Pinowska (eds). Nestling mortality of granivorous birds due to microorganisms and toxic substances: synthesis. PWN, Warszawa, pp. 251–266. Google Scholar


J. Potti , S. Merino 1996. Causes of hatching failure in the Pied Flycatcher. Condor 98: 328–335. Google Scholar


N. J. Royle , P. F. Sural , R. J. McCartney , B. K. Speake 1999. Parental investment and yolk lipid composition in gulls. Functional Ecol. 13: 298–306. Google Scholar


L. Schifferli 1973. The effect of egg weight on the subsequent growth of nestling Great Tits Parus major. Ibis 115: 549–558. Google Scholar


H. G. Smith , T. Ohlson , K-J. Wettermark , 1995. Adaptive significance of egg size in the european starling: experimental tests. Ecology 76: 1–7. Google Scholar


S. H. Stoleson , S. R. Beissinger 1999. Egg viability as a constraint on hatching synchrony at high ambient temperatures. J. Animal Ecol. 68: 951–962 Google Scholar


J. P. Veiga 1992. Hatching asynchrony in the House Sparrow: a test of egg-viability hypothesis. Am. Nat. 139: 669–675 Google Scholar


J. P. Veiga , J. Vińuela 1993. Hatching asynchrony and hatching success in the House Sparrow: evidence for the egg-viability hypothesis. Ornis Scand. 24: 237–242. Google Scholar


S. Ward 1995. Causes and consequences of egg size variation in swallows (Hirundo rustica). Avocetta 19: 189–201. Google Scholar


D. R. Webb 1987. Thermal tolerance of avian embryos: a review. Condor 89: 874–898. Google Scholar


K. Weidinger 1996. Egg viability and hatching success in the Cape petrel Daption capense. J. Zool. Lond. 239: 755–768. Google Scholar


D. A. Wiggins , T. Pärt , L. Gustafsson 1994. Correlates of clutch desertion by female Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis. J. Avian Biol. 25: 93–97. Google Scholar


T. D. Williams 1994. Intraspecific variation in egg size and egg composition in birds: effect on offspring fitness.Biol. Ref. Rev., 68: 35–59. Google Scholar


P. Zieliński , J. Bańbura 1999. Egg size variation in the Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. Acta Ornithol. 33: 191–196. Google Scholar
Barbara Pinowska, Miłosława Barkowska, Jan Pinowski, Kyu-Hwang Hahm, and Natalia Lebedeva "The Effect of Egg Size on Hatching Rate in the Tree Sparrow Passer montanus (Study in Central Poland)," Acta Ornithologica 37(1), 7-14, (1 July 2002).
Received: 1 May 2002; Accepted: 1 June 2002; Published: 1 July 2002

Back to Top