Breeding Ecology of Passerine Birds in Alpine Meadows of Northern Qinghai|
ZHAO Liang, ZHANG Xiao-ai, LIU Ze-hua
The reproductive ecology of birds is important in the study of life history evolution centers. We briefly review progress in the reproductive ecology of alpine meadow passerines on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, to which we add the published results of our recent study. The current studies includes nest architecture, nest-site selection, the evolution of clutch size, nestling growth, parental care, breeding productivity, and breeding strategy etc. Based on these observations, we hypothesised that (1) the length of the breeding season, food resources and predation are critical for the evolution of passerine reproductive patterns in alpine meadows; (2) that alpine meadow passerines used single-investment and accumulative-investment strategies; (3) that the typical clutch size was actually the most efficient for reproductive purposes; (4) and that the transition from neonate to fledgling passerines is a relatively fixed process as compensatory growth does not appear to occur; (5) and that growth period is volatile. In future studies we propose: (1) to study the evolution and stability of parent-offspring communications, and to determine if the parent-offspring communication is the result of evolutionary trade-offs between visual and vocal signals; (2) to establish a life history table under the gradient of nest habitat; (3) to determine the ecological field under the gradient of nest habitat (from open to closed). Finally, we will try to obtain the transformation table of parent-offspring communication under the gradient of nest habitat and test the trade-offs between visual and vocal signals. Those results will provide more information on diversity, adaptive strategies and of life history of alpine meadow avians, and predict reproduction and life history of birds in response to global changes.
Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, Passerine birds, Breeding ecology