The nesting biology of the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis (Say), in Honolulu, Hawaii

Hirai, Lawrence T.
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Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program
A study of the House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis (Say), was conducted on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus, from January 1972 through July 1974. From 25 to 50 pairs were found nesting in the study area from February through August. Nest construction takes approximately 12 days, the incubation period 13 days, the nestling period 17 or 18 days, and the fledgling period probably lasts from two to three weeks. A pair most likely has two successful broods per nesting season. Clutch size averaged four eggs. Nestlings exhibit the standard type of avian growth curve, increasing in weight from less than two grams at hatching to 17 grams, 13 days later. Nestlings of the same brood that hatched earlier weighed more than those that hatched later, and this difference may reflect sibling competition for food. The behavior of the adults during the various stages of the nesting period and the development of the nestlings are discussed. Nest faunas from three 1972 nests were extracted and identified. Although the blood-sucking parasitic mite (Mesostigmata: Dermanyssidae) was found, it is felt that this mite did not cause the deaths of a significant number of nestlings. A number of other mortality factors are discussed as to the reason for such a low nesting success in Hawaii (17% in each of 1972 and 1974, 30% in 1973). Some characteristics of the Hawaiian House Finch are different from reported populations in other parts of the United States. Significant differences exist in egg weight, possibly in the length of the nestling period, rate of nestling growth, nesting success, and male coloration. In Hawaii, the House Finch has a much longer nesting season, and this may be explained by the highly developed photoperiodic mechanism that controls the timing of reproduction in this species.
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Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis
Hirai LT. 1974. The nesting biology of the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis (Say), in Honolulu, Hawaii. Honolulu (HI): Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program. International Biological Program Technical Report, 47.
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