The breeding success of birds can be influenced by habitat characteristics (e.g., vegetation cover and weather), species interactions (e.g., predation and parasitism), and species' intrinsic factors (e.g., behavior and nest structure and location). Information about breeding traits is crucial to better understand population dynamics. Here, we performed probabilistic modeling of Dark-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus melacoryphus) nests to assess the effect of habitat and nest parameters (e.g., time, season, nest site, clutch size, and brood size) on daily survival. We carried out this study in northeastern Brazil during the rainy seasons (Jan–Jun) of 2017 and 2018. To assess daily nest survival and the effects of habitat and nest covariates, we located and monitored 61 nests every 2–3 d following the Mayfield protocol and analyzed these data using information-theoretic model-selection program MARK. We found a higher daily survival during incubation than during the nestling period, with a positive effect of clutch and brood size. Models constrained by the covariates year, breeding season time, species of plant supporting the nest, nest height, and nest concealment were not supported. Success for the incubation and nestling periods were 19% and 11% by Mayfield, and 33% and 4% by MARK model averaging, corresponding to a total nest-period success of 2.1% and 1.5% for each method, respectively. The positive relationship found between survival and clutch size for the Dark-billed Cuckoo seldom occurs in birds from tropical regions. As expected for tropical birds, we recorded high predation and low breeding success.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.