Female sparrows lay more eggs when males fill nest with more feathers

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 14:07

Washington: Female sparrows invest more energy into laying eggs according to the male`s ability to fill the nest with feathers which serves to insulate the chicks from the cold, a new study has revealed.

Scientists from the University of Granada, in collaboration with the South African University of the Witwatersrand and the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town, made the discovery about the female house sparrow (Passer domesticus).

"We conducted an experiment with two types of treatments and a control group. In total, we observed the behaviour of 50 pairs of sparrows," Lola Garcia Lopez de Hierro, the study`s main researcher, informed SINC.

According to their results, carrying feathers could be a result of sexual selection by the females as they put more energy into reproduction if they have more feathers in the nest.

"They provide excellent insulation and the females know that less chicks will die if the male brings more feathers," the expert stated.

The experiment was conducted in the natural environment of Dassen Island (South Africa) and this is the first time this behaviour has been documented in the house sparrow.


First Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 14:07

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