Leslie H. Brown
Bio: Leslie H. Brown is an academic researcher from The Nature Conservancy. The author has contributed to research in topics: Population & Circaetus. The author has an hindex of 6, co-authored 7 publications receiving 235 citations.
TL;DR: In this paper, the population of Golden Eagles was assessed in four different areas of the Scottish Highlands and the average area per pair varied from 11,400 to 17,884 acres, excluding country that was not used by the eagles.
Abstract: Summary The population of Golden Eagles was assessed in four different areas of the Scottish Highlands. The average area per pair varied from 11,400 to 17,884 acres, excluding country that was not used by the eagles. Eagle food in these areas consists largely of Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, Mountain Hares and Rabbits, and also dead Red Deer and dead sheep. The numbers and biomass of the four main species of living prey were assessed by representative counts in three main types of habitat; and of dead deer and sheep partly from counts but mainly from published data on stocking densities, mortality and weights. The annual food requirement from a home range was estimated at 249 kg. of meat, calculated from data on the food consumption of eagles, allowing for known breeding success and for the presence of some immature eagles and unmated adults; and this was compared with the total food potential in the four Study Areas, allowance being made for the inedible portions of carcases. The average food potential in all areas is greatly in excess of the requirements. In the three western areas living prey is very scarce, but amounts of carrion are large and the eagles in these areas depend mainly on carrion. Large differences in food potential between areas do not correspond with differences in eagle density. Two examples are cited where a drastic reduction in food supply had no effect on eagle density, which remains remarkably constant in spite of seasonal and annual fluctuations in food supply. Golden Eagle nest-sites are used over many years, and the home ranges are big enough to supply a more than adequate food supply at all times of year. Evidence is provided of territorial or home-range defence, which generally takes the form of display flights but occasionally involves more overt aggression. The home-range size is fixed so high that a critical food level is probably very rarely reached.
TL;DR: This paper summarizes what has been learned about the breeding behaviour of the Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor from 1954 to 1969, especially at Lake Magadi, Kenya, in 1962.
Abstract: SUMMARY This paper summarizes what has been learned about the breeding behaviour of the Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor from 1954 to 1969, especially at Lake Magadi, Kenya, in 1962. The only known regular breeding site is on soda mudflats at Lake Natron, Tanzania. Lake Magadi, used in 1962 when Lake Natron was full of water, may only have been used once this century. Breeding has been sporadically reported from other lakes, but reports are usually inadequate and in many cases successful breeding was not proven. At Lake Natron the breeding site is in the middle of the lake which is 70 km long by 24 km wide. Breeding conditions are extremely harsh, mid-day temperatures regularly exceeding 50oC and reaching 70–75oC. The advantage of the site lies in its complete freedom from predatory mammals. Details of known breeding, obtained by aerial surveys, are given. Lesser Flamingos do not breed annually, and tend to start in the last quarter, October to December, of any year in which they breed. There is no obvious relation between food supply and this breeding date. The last quarter of the year at Lake Natron tends to be rainy and warm. No really large-scale breeding has been observed since 1962. The methods used for estimating adults and young are given. They have shown good correlation with ground counts at Lake Magadi in 1962. The total population is of the order of three to four million, and the largest known breeding colonies were of 1,100,000 pairs at Lake Magadi in 1962 and 570,000 pairs in 1957 at Lake Natron. From 1953 to 1962 inclusive about 275,000 pairs (1/5 to 1 /6 of the population) bred annually on average, but since 1962 the average number breeding per year has been less, reducing the overall average to perhaps 180,000 pairs. At this rate a pair takes 22–24 years to replace itself. The nuptial display of the Lesser Flamingo resembles in many respects that of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber. When displaying, Lesser Flamingos congregate in a tightly-packed flock, rapidly moving, in which various ritual movements are performed. Display normally takes place in certain sites far from known breeding grounds, and may be stimulated by conditions of very dense population. Lesser Flamingos build mud-mound nests similar to but smaller than those of the Greater Flamingo. Measurements, weights, and other details are given. The huge 1962 Magadi colony involved the excavation of some 20,000 metric tons of soda mud. One egg is normally laid. Large numbers of birds tend to lay synchronously in particular parts of the colony. The threshold numbers for breeding may be of the order of 5,000 pairs. Both sexes incubate, for about 28–29 days. Incubating birds are liable to desert en masse when disturbed, e.g. by hyenas. 70–90% of eggs hatch, usually about 85%. Larger colonies are more successful than smaller, and birds that lay out of phase with others tend to desert without hatching. The development of the young resembles that of the Greater Flamingo, but the two are distinguishable at an early age by bill structure. At Lake Natron the fledging period is about 70 days, but at Lake Magadi it was about 90 days, probably because the parents had to fly to Lake Natron for food. Adults attend the chicks closely for the first week of life, but thereafter leave them increasingly. Chicks more than one week old gather in herds, which eventually aggregate to huge numbers, 300,000 or more. Both at Lake Natron and Lake Magadi the chicks moved en masse out of the breeding area to gathering grounds in shallow water, where they remained till able to feed themselves and fly. Both sexes feed the young with regurgigated liquid matter, delivered bill to bill with parent and young both facing forward, as in the Greater Flamingo. Feeding details were not closely observed at Lake Magadi as most feeding took place after dark. Breeding success has varied from 5 to 75%, averaging 41 to 43% of eggs laid. The 1962 Magadi colony had 33 to 38% breeding success. Mass moult to flightlessness is described. It may occur before, during, or after the breeding season, or without breeding, and normally only at Lake Natron. It lasts six to eight weeks, perhaps three weeks for an individual, and may be controllable in that it did not occur at Lake Magadi in 1962 when its effects would have been fatal for the colony. Predation by large mammals (from lions to jackals) and birds, especially Egyptian and other Vultures, is described and roughly quantified. Predation from all causes may have resulted in 5% loss at the Magadi colony, but at Lake Natron is probably less. Eight thousand young Lesser Flamingos and 80 Greater Flamingos were ringed at Lake Magadi in 1962. Ringing methods are described. Recoveries have been meagre, the most distant being from the Awash Valley, Ethiopia. No rings have been observed among the adult population in recent years. The most probable explanation of the poor results is ring loss through chemical action of the water.
TL;DR: The species of eagles occurring in Embu district are detailed, with general notes on the methods and scope of the study, and the inter-relations of the various species are discussed from the points of view of territorial agressiveness and competition for prey.
Abstract: SUMMARY. 1 The species of eagles occurring in Embu district are detailed, with general notes on the methods and scope of the study. 2 The vegetation and climate of Embu district are described, and their effect upon eagles is discussed. 3 Population and inter-relations. The actual population of eagles and of the Secretary Bird in an area of approximately 146 sq. miles is given and their remarkable local concentrations are described. The inter-relations of the various species are discussed from the points of view of territorial agressiveness and competition for prey. 4 Detailed accounts are given of the breeding biology of Sagittarius serpentarius, Aquila verreauxi, A. wahlbergi, Hieraaetus spilogaster, Polmaetus bellicosus, Stephano-aetus coronatus and Circaetus cinereus, and some information for Terathopius ecaudatus, Circaetus pectoralis, and Aquila rapax, Hieraaetus ayresi, Lophaetus occipitalis, and Cuncuma vocifer. The headings for each species include: “Nests and nest-building”, “Incubation period”, “Fledging period” (with special attention to food), and “Post-fledging period”. 5 The following special aspects of breeding behaviour are described and discussed: (1) Display, (2) Use of green branches, (3) Breeding seasons, (4) Breeding success, (5) Breeding frequency.
TL;DR: The fluctuations of population in an area of 146 square miles in Embu district, where a census of eagles was carried out in 1950, are described and discussed and the inter-relations of various species are discussed.
Abstract: Summary. 1 The present paper is supplementary to that in ‘Ibis’ 94 and 95. 2 The fluctuations of population in an area of 146 square miles in Embu district, where a census of eagles was carried out in 1950, are described and discussed fur 951–52. 3 The inter-relations of various species are discussed, particularly for Aquila wahlbergi and Lophaetus occipitalis. 4 General accounts of breeding biology are given for Sagittarius serpentarius, Aquila wahlbergi, Hieraaetus ayresi and Terathopius ecaudatus, and supplementary data for Aquila verreauxi, Hieraaetus spilogaster, Polemaetus bellicosus, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Lophaetus occipitalis, Circaetus cinereus and Circaetus pectoralis. These accounts are given under the following heads:— 1 General notes on adults. 2 Nests and nest-building. 3 The incubation period. 4 The fledging period: (a) general, (b) development of the young, (c) parental behaviour, (d) food. 5 The post-fledging period. 5 Special problems of breeding biology are discussed under the following heads: (1) Display; (2) Eagle-weaver-bird nesting-associations; (3) Feeding rates of female and eaglet; (4) Breeding seasons; (5) Breeding success and replacement rate.
TL;DR: Observations on the breeding of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, mainly at Lake Elmenteita, Kenya, 1951–1971 are brought together.
Abstract: Summary This paper brings together observations on the breeding of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, mainly at Lake Elmenteita, Kenya, 1951–1971. The Greater Flamingo bred at Lakes Elmenteita and Nakuru in 11/21 observed years and at Lakes Natron and Magadi in 5/12 observed years. On average, it breeds about every second year, but a succession of breeding years is followed by several years in which no breeding occurs. A history of 21 years' breeding at Lakes Nakuru and Elmenteita is given. At Elmenteita three sites have been used, the main site in every breeding year, the others less often. The number of pairs breeding in any year has varied from 500–9,250, but in 1968 flamingos bred three times, involving perhaps 8,500 pairs which made about 15,700 nests, some pairs perhaps laying twice or even thrice in a year. Losses of eggs (38.2% overall) were caused by rising water (16.2%), competition for nest space with Great White Pelicans (6.9%, after 1968 only), human interference (3.5%), Marabou Stork predation (1.8%) and other natural causes (9.8%). Losses among chicks totalled 68.3% overall and were mainly due to Marabou Storks (36.5%), undiagnosed disease (8.6%), and rising water (6.6%). Disease caused serious loss only in 1966, and after 1968 losses from Marabous rose from 2.7% to 76.5%, resulting in an increase in overall mortality from 48.7 to 92%. This was perhaps associated with the establishment of a fish factory at Lake Naivasha. When attacking flamingo colonies Marabous did not actually eat many eggs or chicks, but simply caused wholesale desertion by alarming the flamingos. In 1968 total desertion of a colony of 4,500 pairs was caused between 18 and 26 March by a maximum of 17 Marabous, and similar wholesale desertion was caused in later years. The overall breeding success among Greater Flamingos at Elmenteita was about 19% of eggs laid, but without the excessive post-1968 Marabou predation would have been about 30%. At such a rate Greater Flamingos require at least 24 years of adult life to replace themselves, but if the mortality caused by Marabous since 1968 continues they will require about 58 years, and the population will inevitably decline. Breeding success at Lakes Magadi and Natron has been higher, about 44% of eggs laid; but figures available are much more approximate than at Elmenteita. Some new data on display, nest-site selection, laying dates, clutch-size, hatching and creche behaviour are given for the Greater Flamingo. The Great White Pelican bred at Lake Elmenteita from 1968 to 1971 without a break, some birds laying in every month, but with reduced laying November–December. They bred on the same islands as, and in association with the Greater Flamingo, and caused heavy losses among the latter, not through aggressiveness, but simply because of their superior size and weight. Although food supply must ultimately have controlled the pelican's ability to breed, an adequate food supply was available for 6 years before they did and continued after they had ceased. Their breeding was finally triggered by the Greater Flamingo colonies, with which the pelicans associated. When a flamingo colony was deserted because of Marabou Storks the pelicans, unafraid themselves of the Marabous, also deserted. They also associated with, and wiped out, a colony of Sacred Ibis. From July 1968 to June 1969 about 2,600 pairs of pelicans bred at Elmenteita, rearing about 2,200 young to the flying stage. The breeding colony apparently comprised most of the adults from Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha, the main feeding areas. From July 1968 to January 1971 certainly 7,200 and probably 8,000 pairs of pelicans bred at Elmenteita. Some pairs may have bred twice or thrice in this period. Breeding ceased suddenly in January 1971, eggs, and small and large young being alike abandoned for no established reason, although food supply was certainly still plentiful. Additional information on pair formation, incubation and fledging periods, nest-relief, etc. is given. The best available record of the incubation period is 35–36 days. Nest relief takes place on average about once every 48 hrs, and is dependent on thermal activity enabling the pelicans to soar. At Elmenteita large young ate quantities of putrefying matter, including the corpses of other young pelicans. They also ate living young hatching from eggs, and up to 14 days old. Touch probably plays an important part in helping them to locate possible food in opaque water.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors analyzed 105 species of birds of many taxonomic groups from a wide range of geographical localities and found that the shape of the growth curve is not related to the mode of development (i.e. whether precocial or altricial).
Abstract: Summary Parameters used to characterize the course of growth are described, and calculated growth parameters are presented for 105 species of birds of many taxonomic groups from a wide range of geographical localities. Growth parameters are found to exhibit as much as 20% variation within a species with respect to geographic locality and time of the nesting season. There is also considerable local variation, irrespective of season and locality, which is related to nutrition and perhaps to an inherited variability. The application of curve-fitting as a method of analysing intraspecific variation is discussed briefly, and the importance of comparative growth studies is emphasized. Growth patterns are correlated with other parameters of the life-history to evaluate the extent of diversity in the course of growth. Low rates of growth and prolonged growth periods occur primarily in species large for their families and in oceanic species. In most others, high rates of growth are maintained for longer periods of time. The shape of the growth curve is not related to the mode of development (i.e. whether precocial or altricial). Overall relative, or weight-specific growth rates, as measured by the constants of fitted growth equations, are most highly correlated with the adult body size of the species, changing as the -0–278 power of adult body weight. Smaller variations in the rate of growth appear to be correlated with differences in nesting success; open-nesting passerines grow faster than hole-nesting species of a similar size. Growth rate is further correlated with brood size. Oceanic species with single egg clutches and tropical land-birds with small clutches have low growth rates. The asymptote of the growth curve of the young (in relation to the adult weight) is related to the foraging behaviour of the adults. Aerial feeders generally have high asymptotes while those of ground feeding species are usually below adult weight. These differences are related to the need in the former for well-developed flight at the time of fledging. The diversity of growth patterns is related to evolutionary trends which are the result of (1) selective forces acting at stages of the life-history cycle other than development, (2) factors which affect the survival of offspring during the growth period, and (3) adjustments made to balance the energy budget of the family group. The last trend is discussed in detail in relation to the correlations found in the analysis. Two hypotheses are presented. Firstly, in species which cannot gather enough food to support even one young at a normal growth rate, the pace of development is reduced to decrease the energetic requirements of the young. Secondly, in species with small clutches, where adjustments to feeding capacities are not readily made by changing brood size, growth rate may be adjusted to accomplish this. The lack of critical energetic data to test these hypotheses is emphasized as a major deficiency in our understanding of the breeding biology of birds.
••01 Jan 1979
TL;DR: Mating system theory must mesh with theoretical advances concerning the evolution of territoriality, parental behavior, and animal sociality and by including the appropriate theoretical work from these other areas, an integrated theory of vertebrate mating systems can be developed.
Abstract: The evolution of sex created a fundamental problem for nearly all plants and animals; namely, the need to fertilize eggs. Numerous types of mating systems have evolved as solutions to this problem, each molded by particular environmental circumstances and particular species attributes. Various hypotheses have been advanced to explain each type of mating system, but an integrated theory is only now beginning to emerge. Since mating behavior is affected by nearly all other aspects of an organism’s behavioral adjustments to its environment, such a theory must fit within a composite view of animal social behavior and hence must include explicit points of contact with related bodies of theory. In particular, mating system theory must mesh with theoretical advances concerning the evolution of territoriality, parental behavior, and animal sociality. By including the appropriate theoretical work from these other areas, an integrated theory of vertebrate mating systems can be developed.
TL;DR: Mating system theory revolves around two major issues: the factors determining which sex predominates in shap ing each mating system, and the factors deciding which mating system is optimal for members of the "controlling" sex.
Abstract: Recent theoretical insights are helping to clarify how animal mating sys tems evolve. An integrated theory is beginning to emerge from the realiza tion that males and females have overlapping but nonidentical reproductive interests and that the type of mating system shown by a species results from interactions between the individual interests of each sex. The optimal mat ing system for promoting individual reproductive interests often differs for each sex, and when it does, the interests of one sex constrain the reproduc tive options open to the other. Thus, mating system theory revolves around two major issues: the factors determining which sex predominates in shap ing each mating system, and the factors determining which mating system is optimal for members of the "controlling" sex. The greatest progress has been made in explaining how polygynous mat ing systems evolved, particularly among territorial vertebrates, and more recent work is clarifying the specific environmental conditions involved (4, 46, 145, 146, 161, 227, 244, 246, 247). Promiscuous and polyandrous mating systems are less well understood, but several promising avenues toward a general theory have begun to develop (7 1, 9 1 , 126, 240, 245, 246). In contrast, theoretical work on the evolution of monogamy lags far behind, despite an enormous literature on monogamous animals.
TL;DR: It is suggested that Darwinian selection at the level of the individual permits an understanding of the known structure of avian communities and that there is no need at present to invoke new selective mechanisms at thelevel of the community or ecosystem.
Abstract: Territories of birds, usually defended against conspecific individuals, are sometimes defended against individuals of other species. Since such behavior is demanding both of time and energy, natural selection should favor ecological should favor ecological divergence, the establishment of overlapping territories, and the reduction of aggression. Lack of divergence in modes of exploitation could mean that insufficient time has elapsed for the changes to be completed or that the environment imposes some limitation preventing the evolution of the required degree of divergence. Such environmental limitation can be predicted in (a) structurally simple environments, (b) when feeding sites are strongly stratified in structurally complex vegetation, or (c) when the presence of other species in the environment prevents divergence in certain directions. The known cases of interspecific territoriality in birds are analyzed and shown to be largely in accordance with these predictions, although several cases of overlapping territories in situations where interspecific territoriality has been predicted provide relationships worthy of further study. We suggest that Darwinian selection at the level of the individual permits an understanding of the known structure of avian communities and that there is no need at present to invoke new selective mechanisms at the level of the community or ecosystem.
TL;DR: An energy-time budget model is developed which predicts the influence of various environmental factors upon feeding territory size and suggests that territory size should vary inversely with food production, but directly with competitor density for food-energy maximizers.
Abstract: An energy-time budget model is developed which predicts the influence of various environmental factors upon feeding territory size. For nonbreeding animals maintaining noncontiguous territories, territory size should (1) vary inversely with food production, but directly with competitor density, for feeding-time minimizers (defined here as animals that exhibit relatively fixed daily energy requirements); and (2) vary inversely with both food production and competitor density for food-energy maximizers, animals whose potential reproductive success is positively correlated with their net energetic intake. Concomitant predicted changes in time budgeting provide operational criteria for testing the model. Besides the primary effects of food and competitors, other factors may also influence territory size. Any competitors which successfully invade the territory can decrease the availability of food, forcing both time minimizers and energy maximizers to expand their territories. Where territories are contiguous,...