Individual flexibility in breeding time is essential to respond to unpredictable changes in environmental conditions. Repeatability quantifies the consistency of the expression of phenotypes over time due to differences between individuals. Here, we estimate the repeatability of breeding date (laying date of first egg), hatching date and timing of pre-breeding events in a population of Pied Flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca monitored over three decades in central Spain. We found low repeatabilities of breeding and hatching dates (respectively, R = 0.135 and R = 0) and among-year fluctuations (R = 0.276 and R = 0.218) in the expression of these traits. Repeatabilities of mating dates and of the interval between mating and egg laying were also very low (respectively R = 0.053 and R = 0) and among years (respectively R = 0.218 and R = 0.172), suggesting that Pied Flycatcher females are flexible to adjust their breeding schedule to current breeding conditions. We interpret the low consistency of traits related to breeding phenology as strong support for female phenotypic plasticity in breeding timing and the potential of such traits to respond to changing environmental conditions.—Le Vaillant, J., Potti, J., Camacho, C., Canal, D. & Martínez-Padilla, J. (2022). Low repeatability of breeding events reflects flexibility in reproductive timing in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca in Spain. Ardeola, 69: 21-39.
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Vol. 69 • No. 1