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Evidence of breeding activity of subadult Turdus thrushes in Argentina

Exequiel Barboza, Patricia Capllonch, Fernando Diego Ortiz, Alex E. Jahn


Little is known about the age at which many Neotropical bird species first attempt to breed. We evaluated the breeding condition of 515 adult and subadult males and females among four species of Turdus thrushes (T. nigriceps, T. chiguancoT. amaurochalinus and T. rufiventris) in Tucumán, Argentina during three breeding seasons (2015 to 2018). We registered a total of 126 individuals with brood patches and cloacal protuberances, which accounted for 24.5% of thrushes in breeding condition that we sampled. Forty thrushes had a brood patch (31.7% of those in breeding condition), of which 11 were subadults (8.7%). Eighty-six thrushes (68.3%) had a swollen cloacal protuberance, 18 of which were subadults (14.3%). Only a few of the subadults in breeding condition built nests, incubated eggs or raised nestlings. Of 130 nests we found, only 3 belonged to a subadult thrush (in all cases, a subadult female with an adult social mate), one of which was successful. Further research on these patterns among various Neotropical bird species could lead to important insights into the life history strategies that characterize different populations, and how these ultimately affect their population dynamics.

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