Breeding biology of the Thorn-tailed Rayadito (Furnariidae) in south-temperate rainforests of Chile
We conducted a study of the breeding biology of the Thorn-tailed Rayadito (Aphrastura spinicauda) in secondary forests on the continental island of Chiloe (42degreesS), southern Chile. Rayaditos are small insectivorous furnariids inhabiting the south-temperate forests of Chile and Argentina. We followed the reproduction of rayadito pairs breeding in nest-boxes. Rayaditos build their nests mainly of rhizomes and stems of epiphytic vines, grasses, and hairs during periods of at least a week, and show a marked population asynchrony in laying dates of more than two months (October-December). Rayaditos lay clutches of 3-6 eggs with a mode of 4 and laying occurs on alternate days. Eggs are 50% larger and hatchlings are 30% larger than expected from allometric equations. Most broods hatch synchronously. Nestling growth curves adjust well to logistic functions and at 2 weeks nestlings attain masses similar to asymptotic values. Nestling growth, which occurs over 3 weeks, is 27% slower than expected from allometry. Fledglings attain adult size with respect to tarsus length, but have less developed plumage and higher body mass than adults. Rayaditos exhibit clutch and brood reduction, suggesting possible food limitation. The protracted breeding periods may preclude second breeding attempts for most pairs in Chiloe. There is evidence for declines in parental quality with season. The low seasonal fecundity, large eggs, and prolonged dependence periods of a truly south-temperate species like the Thorn-tailed Rayadito reflect a 'slow' life history similar to that of tropical passerines.
Quote ItemCONDOR Volume: 107 Issue: 1 Pages: 69-77 Published: FEB 2005