Blog

House finches add cigarette butts to their nests to avoid ectoparasites

House finches in Mexico City break down cigarette butts and use them to line their nests. This may be a response to tick infestation, as these blood sucking parasites are repelled by substances such as the nicotine contained in the discarded butts, but can we be certain?

Smithsonian scientists track endangered bird through its annual cycle

To fully know a species and develop sound conservation efforts, its full life cycle must be understood. But tracking small migratory birds for thousands of miles has proven challenging, if not impossible, in the past. However, using new and minute technology...

Avian malaria affects lekking behaviour of blue-crowned manakins

This research shows the effects of avian malaria, caused by the infection of protozoans of the genus Plasmodium on the social behavior of Blue-crowned manakins. The birds of this species are well-known for holding exhibitions of dances to females during...

Gut microbiota of migratory passerines during stopover

Studies from mammalian systems have highlighted an important role of the gut microbiota in regulating host digestion, metabolism, and immune function; however the makeup and impacts of gut microbiota in avian gastrointestinal tracts is poorly known.

Editor's Choice: A test for repertoire matching in eastern song sparrows

By critical and elegant playback experiments the authors of this highly interesting study demonstrate that vocal signalling behaviour differs fundamentally between a western and eastern population of the same species (song sparrow, Melospiza melodia).