Data from: Evolution of parental activity at the nest is shaped by the risk of nest predation and ambient temperature across bird species
Matysiokova, Beata; Remes, Vladimir (2018), Data from: Evolution of parental activity at the nest is shaped by the risk of nest predation and ambient temperature across bird species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n11s038
Incubation is an important component of parental care in birds and species differ widely in their incubation rhythm. In this comparative study we focused on factors responsible for those differences. As hypothesized by A. Skutch, increased parental activity at the nest increases the probability of nest depredation. High risk of nest predation should therefore lead to the evolution of lower frequency of parental activity at the nest. We thus expected to find a negative relationship between frequency of nest visits and the risk of nest depredation. Using a large dataset of 256 species of passerines breeding worldwide we found that the frequency of nest visits decreased as the risk of nest depredation increased and that this effect was strongest in tropical species. Further, foraging bouts were longer in species experiencing warmer ambient temperatures during incubation and those with domed nests. Incubation bouts were longer and frequency of nest visits lower in species with higher body mass. Our results support the view that natural selection favors lower frequency of nests visits in species under higher risk of nest predation and demonstrate the importance of other factors (temperature, geographic space, nest type, and body mass) in shaping the evolution of incubation rhythm.