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Data from: Apparent annual survival estimates of tropical songbirds better reflect life history variation when based on intensive field methods


Martin, Thomas E. et al. (2018), Data from: Apparent annual survival estimates of tropical songbirds better reflect life history variation when based on intensive field methods, Dryad, Dataset,


Aim: Adult survival is central to theories explaining latitudinal gradients in life history strategies. Life history theory predicts higher adult survival in tropical than north temperate regions given lower fecundity and parental effort. Early studies were consistent with this prediction, but standard-effort netting studies in recent decades suggested that apparent survival rates in temperate and tropical regions strongly overlap. Such results do not fit with life history theory. Targeted marking and resighting of breeding adults yielded higher survival estimates in the tropics, but this approach is thought to overestimate survival because it does not sample social and age classes with lower survival. We compared the effect of field methods on tropical survival estimates and their relationships with life history traits. Location: Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Time period: 2008–2016. Major taxon: Passeriformes. Methods: We used standard-effort netting and resighted individuals of all social and age classes of 18 tropical songbird species over 8 years. We compared apparent survival estimates between these two field methods with differing analytical approaches. Results: Estimated detection and apparent survival probabilities from standard-effort netting were similar to those from other tropical studies that used standard-effort netting. Resighting data verified that a high proportion of individuals that were never recaptured in standard-effort netting remained in the study area, and many were observed breeding. Across all analytical approaches, addition of resighting yielded substantially higher survival estimates than did standard-effort netting alone. These apparent survival estimates were higher than for temperate zone species, consistent with latitudinal differences in life histories. Moreover, apparent survival estimates from addition of resighting, but not from standard-effort netting alone, were correlated with parental effort as measured by egg temperature across species. Main conclusions: Inclusion of resighting showed that standard-effort netting alone can negatively bias apparent survival estimates and obscure life history relationships across latitudes and among tropical species.

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National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1241041, DEB-1651283, IOS-1656120