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Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil

Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 341-346 ARTICLE December 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Bolsista de Iniciação Científica pelo Instituto Florestal-SP/CNPq, Rua Itacolomi, 456, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mail: renata.biancalana@gmail.com Received on 4 April 2014. Accepted on 11 November 2014. ABSTRACT: White-collared Swifts Streptoprocne zonaris are common throughout the tropical Americas. They usually breed in colonies in wet caves and next to waterfalls. Despite their widespread range, little is known about their breeding biology. Here I present data gathered from 2012 to 2014 at two breeding sites, Luminosa Cave and Água Comprida waterfall, located within Intervales State Park, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. More than 30 nests were found in the cave and one behind a waterfall. The egg-laying period began in late October and lasted until the first week of November. Nests were made mostly of bryophytes, with some fresh and dry leaves and sand. Eggs were dull white, and had an oval shape. Nestlings per nest varied from 1 to 3. The fledging period was between 41-51 days. This is the first record for this species of a successful nest with 3 nestlings. The species showed high nest site fidelity. Plumage development was similar to other species in the genus. KEYWORDS: Apodidae, caves, nest, nestlings, Streptoprocne. INTRODUCTION The objective of this work is to describe the nests, eggs and nestlings of White-collared Swifts based on The White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris is a observations conducted between December 2012 and common species with a wide range throughout the February 2014 at two breeding sites in a fragment of Atlantic rainforest in southeastern Brazil. Americas, occurring from South Mexico to the southern Andean highlands (Chantler 1999). In Brazil, it has been recorded from Amazonas to Rio Grande do Sul. One of the largest known concentrations of the species is in Aripuanã, METHODS Mato Grosso, where, together with Great Dusky Swifts, The study was conducted between March 2012 and Cypseloides senex, they form a colony of more than one February 2014 at two sites, Luminosa Cave and Água million individuals (Sick 2001, De Luca et al. 2009). Adult White-collared Swifts have a distinctive black Comprida waterfall, both located in Intervales State Park and brown plumage with a clear white collar circling (ISP), municipality of Ribeirão Grande, São Paulo, Brazil the entire neck (Sick 2001). Like other swifts of the (24º12' / 24º25'S and 48º03' / 48º30'W). The climate is classified as Cfb in Koppen’s International System and the Cypseloidinae subfamily, White-collared Swifts breed rainy season lasts from late October to March (Koppen near waterfalls, in canyons and wet caves in large colonies and show high nest site fidelity (Lack 1956, Rowley & 1948, Furlan & Leite 2009). Orr 1965, Whitacre 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992). They Luminosa Cave is a limestone cave located within forage in large flocks, and it is common to see mixed the buffer zone of ISP. It has three entrances: one is a large opening at the top, resembling a skylight, from where groups with Biscutate Swifts, Streptoprocne biscutata, water drips down, and two others at the entrance and the other Cypseloides and Chaetura spp., and Neotropical Palm Swifts, Tachornis squamata (Pichorim 2002, Chávez- exit of Lajeado River that cascades over an approximately Portilla et al. 2007, Pearman et al. 2010). Although its 7 m high vertical cliff and flows into the cave. It has range is well documented and the species is relatively variable luminosity conditions throughout the day, but the innermost area remains dark. The floor is composed of common in this country, there is a lack of information on piled rocky blocks and boulders, sand, leaves and guano. its breeding biology in Brazil and in South America, with few reliable records (Marín & Carrión 1994, De Luca et Just next to the cave’s riverside entrance, on the left side, al. 2009, Passeggi 2011). a high rock wall is used by the swifts to roost. Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana Água Comprida waterfall is a small waterfall, and mud. Fresh material was continuously added to the approximately 4 meters high, formed by the Água nests during the incubation period. Although some nests Comprida River. On the left side of the falls there is a looked ready to use, they remained empty, with no signs rock wall covered with moss where both White-collared of incubating adults or eggs. At the end of the season, Swifts and Sooty Swifts, Cypseloides fumigatus are known when most nestlings had fledged, nests in Luminosa to breed and roost. looked completely different from their original shape, Active nest searching and monitoring was conducted and many were reduced to just a thin layer of sand. The in March and December 2012 (10 h of observation), opposite was observed in the Água Comprida nest, which from January to March 2013 (16 h) and from October was almost intact and the moss that covered the exterior 2013 to February 2014 (51 h). Visits both to the cave and part was fresh and green, both in the 2012/2013 and the falls were made throughout the day (7 – 10 h; 14 – 2013/2014 breeding seasons. 17 h) and at three occasions at night (20 – 23 h). Direct Two oval shaped eggs were found and measured (egg observations of adults and chicks were made with Nikon 1: 13g, 37 x 25 mm; egg 2: 12 g, 35 x 26 mm). One was Monarch 8 x 42 binoculars. A ladder and flashlights were larger than the other, and also exhibited a mud-stained used to access the nests. Measurements were taken with coloration while the other was dull white. digital calipers, measuring tapes and 100g (+- 1 g) Pesola Adults were observed in their nests incubating at spring scales. Photographs were taken with Canon Rebel the beginning of the egg laying period in mid October XSi, T3i and PowerShot SX50 cameras, Sigma 150-500 and would remain in the same position for long periods. lens and with an IPhone 4S mobile phone. Many broken egg-shells were found on the ground near the nesting walls during the egg laying period. No attempts were made to replace lost eggs or nestlings. One RESULTS clutch was laid per nest per reproductive season. Nestlings per nest varied between 1 (n = 9), 2 (n = The breeding season of the White-collared Swift lasted 16) and 3 (n =1). I did not observe any newly hatched from mid-October to early January. Luminosa cave chicks. Nestlings were active and many were clinging to nests were concentrated in four distinct areas, many of the rock wall, seemingly curious with the flashlights. On which did not receive any direct sunlight. Most nests the same day I found a single nest in Água Comprida were isolated from each other by natural barriers such waterfall with two chicks. Their bodies were covered with as openings, stalactites or vertical walls that barred any semiplumes and they left their nest within the difference th th possible movement of offspring from one nest to another. of a day, between January 5 and 6 2013, and were More than 30 nests were found in Luminosa Cave observed roosting on the rock wall below their nest two th between the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons, but most weeks later, during an afternoon visit. On November 25 were inaccessible. Only 25 nests were monitored (Table 2013, a chick was observed together with an adult in 1). The most accessible nest measured: inside diameter Água Comprida waterfall. It had its body covered with th 12 cm, outside height 7 cm, internal depth 1.4 cm and a thin layer of gray semiplumes. On December 18 the height above ground 1.7 m. nest was empty. In Água Comprida waterfall, I found a single I was able to follow the development of six nestlings White-collared Swift nest. Nest measurements taken in during the 2013/2014 breeding season. On November th 2013 were: external diameter 17.5 cm, inside diameter 25 2013 two nestlings were observed (Figure 1). 14 cm, outside height 13.5 cm, internal depth 1.8 cm Determining the age of nestlings was based on our previous th and height above ground 2.7 m. It was built on a rock observations of the nest with two eggs on November 15 wall that had no protection from direct sunlight. It was 2013 and by comparisons with more detailed data for the directly exposed to spray from the waterfall and was species. Nestlings were assumed to be between 6-10 days located above a Sooty Swift nest. During nocturnal visits, old. Both had pink skin with short light gray semiplumes two adult White-collared Swifts were observed roosting on the mantle and on the rump. On the crown and on the next to their nest. coverts the semiplumes were just emerging from the skin. These observations revealed variations in the shape Feet were large and pinkish with dark gray nails. An egg of White-collared Swift nests. While Luminosa Cave tooth was visible on the point of the beak with a pinkish nests were disk-shaped and positioned on horizontal rock commissure. Only one of the nestlings had its eyes open. shelfs and ledges, with a much shorter mud base, the Both were lethargic, simply resting their heads on the Água Comprida waterfall nest was truncated and cone- nest’s rim. Two broken eggs shells were found on a rock shaped and built on a vertical rock wall, with a solid mud 1 m below it. The nest was covered with fresh green moss base. Nests were made of bryophytes, along with some and mud and two fecal sacs were observed in the back. roots, fresh and dry leaves of angiosperms, ferns, sand, When 11-15 days old, the nestlings were more active. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana FIGURE 1. Chronology of White-collared Swift nestlings: A: with 6-10 days; B: with 11-15 days; C: with 19-23 days; D: with 22-26 days; E: with 23-27 days; F: with 26-30 days; G: with 29-33 days; H: with 34-38 days. Photos: A, B, D, G, H: Renato Paiva; C, E, F: Renata Biancalana. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana TABLE 1. Fates of eggs and nestlings of the White-collared Swift found at Intervales State Park in 2012 and 2013. Whenever information on eggs is lacking for active nests during a given year, their content at the time could not be visually inspected. Usage Eggs Nest Number Fledglings Event 2012 2013 Laid Hatched Água Comprida waterfall N1 + 2 1 Disappeared Luminosa Cave N1 +2 2 N2 N3 + 1 0 Disappeared N4 + 1 N5 + 2 N6 N7 +22 2 N8 +22 2 N9 +22 2 N10 N11 N12 +22 2 N13 +22 2 N14 + 1 Their bodies were covered with a thicker layer of light gray and axillaries. With 29-34 days, the nape and mantle were semiplumes, with a bare strip near the abdomen. The feet covered with semiplumes, with a few feathers emerging were darker, with a grayish coloration. In the loral area from the sheaths. Semiplumes were visible on the flanks. and around the beak many tiny spots of feathers in pin Lesser coverts and the alula had feathers with thin whitish could be seen. The beak was dark gray. The eyes were black tips. Primaries and upper tail coverts also had pale border and opaque blue. From this day onwards, the nest became markings. When 32-37 days old, the body was largely increasingly dry and exhibited a less muddy aspect. When covered with contour feathers and semiplumes were only 19-24 days old their bodies and heads were covered with visible on the flanks. When the nestlings were 37-42 days semiplumes, with the coverts covering part of the wings old, their body was fully covered with contour feathers and primaries and secondaries breaking the sheaths. Tail and it was possible to observe the completed white neck feathers were growing and exhibited pointy shafts. Chicks collar and a light white patch on the chest. Semiplumes used to be very vocal when approached and handled, were still visible only on the thighs and on the flanks. emitting a sequence of high-pitched “pee-pee-pee” squeals. One of the nestlings was out of its nest, resting on a rock th Nestlings would occasionally peck each other on the head 1 m below it. On December 30 , the nest with two and on the back. When they were 22-27 days old, the nestlings was empty, with no signs of the fledgings. Insect primaries were growing and the all-surrounding white fragments were found next to all nests; it was not possible collar was not yet completely formed. Semiplumes were to determine if they had been present in excrement or had visible on the neck, mantle, nape and flanks. The head been dropped during chick provisioning. was covered with feathers. There was a bare area on the eye An unusual nest with 3 chicks was discovered on th patch with tiny feathers in pins coming out. When 26-31 December 8 2013. The three chicks were covered with days old, the head and body were covered with contour a thick layer of semiplumes. They were very active and feathers with semiplumes still visible on the flanks, mantle exhibited a wing raising display when approached. On Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana th December 11 , the chicks already exhibited white Adults were observed flying in and out of Luminosa feathers on the nape, but they were different with regard Cave all day long, and could be seen at night on the to their body size and feather development. Two of them roost wall, next to the cave’s entrance. When clinging on had their heads covered with contour feathers, whereas the wall, they would occupy themselves with preening the third still had semiplumes showing on its crown. activities, raising their wings and turning their heads Nestlings left the nest within a space of 5 days. The first towards each other. They were very active and vocal. rd th left between January 3 and 6 2014, and the second and Large flocks of White-collared Swifts, sometimes th th the third between January 6 and 8 (Figure 2). The nest with more than 100 individuals, were observed foraging was monitored until all three nestlings fledged. mostly during cloudy and stormy afternoons. When th On February 13 2014 we observed a large amount leaving or entering the cave or flying over a gorge they of feathers and droppings, mostly a combination of insect would begin voicing loud harsh calls. They were also fragments and guano, on the cave floor. observed foraging with Sooty Swifts but in smaller groups. th rd FIGURE 2. Nest with three nestlings: A. On December 8 2013, when I discovered the nest; B. On January 3 2014, the last time they were seen together. Photos: A. Renata Biancalana; B: Renato Paiva. DISCUSSION Nests were similar in shape and the materials used to those described in previous studies (Rowley & Orr Breeding activity started in mid-October. Egg-laying 1965, Whitacre 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992, Marín & occurred at the beginning of the rainy season, the same Carrión 1994). Many Luminosa nests were far from waterfall spray and were located in drier areas of the period described for the species in Argentina (Passeggi 2011). The presence of broken eggs on the cave floor was cave, which is different from what is described by some noted by other authors for White-naped, S. semicollaris, authors as the typical position for the nests of this species Biscutate and White-collared Swifts and was analyzed in (Chantler 1999). different ways. Some thought it was the result of accidental Like other species of the Cypseloidinae subfamily, White-collared Swifts showed high nest site fidelity, ejections, while others attributed these findings to nest disputes, brood parasitism or even from the intentional reusing the same niches and crevices in the cave and even riddance of infertile eggs (Lack & Lack 1951, Rowley & the same structure of previous nests, in the falls. This Orr 1965, Pichorim 2002). Whitacre (1989) states that agrees with previous observations (Marín & Stiles 1992). egg rolling would also be a main cause of reproductive After carefully looking at and comparing the pictures of nests both at the beginning and at the end of the breeding failure of White-naped Swifts in Mexico. Pichorim & Monteiro-Filho (2008) even considered egg ejection as season, it was possible to observe that all nests at Luminosa a means of possible brood population control by adults, Cave collapsed and were transformed into a thin layer of depending on the foraging conditions they might face. sand, probably due to the movements of nestlings and the Hotta (1994) suggests that egg ejection occurs as a decomposition of plant material in a dark environment. This suggests that Luminosa Cave nests are rebuilt at the consequence of severe competition for nests, which are a valuable asset since they last for many years and are costly beginning of the rainy season each year. On the other in time and energy to construct. hand, the nest in Água Comprida contained live moss Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana and was left almost intact during the whole year. The REFERENCES large structure of some nests is probably due to material Chantler, P. 1999. Family Apodidae (Swifts), p. 387-466. In: Del accumulation during several years of use. The proximity of Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (eds.). Handbook of the birds White-collared Swift nests to other Cypseloidinae species of the world, v. 5: barn-owls to hummingbirds. Barcelona: Lynx breeding at the same site was also observed in Argentina Edicions. by Pearman et al. (2010), with the difference that in Água Chávez-Portilla, G. A.; Hernández-Jaramillo, A.; Cortes-Herrera, J. O.; Villagran-Chavarro, D. X.; Drigelio-Gil, J.; Alarcón- Comprida waterfall two more nests of Sooty Swifts were Bernal, S. M.; Rodríguez, N. & Gamba-Trimiño, C. 2007. located higher than that of White-collared Swifts. Tercer registro del vencejo frente blanca (Cypseloides cherriei, Eggs were similar to those detailed in other studies, Apodidae) para Colombia. Boletín SAO, 17(1): 47-49. regarding coloration and measurements, although the eggs Collins, C. T. 1998. Food delivery and chick provisioning in found were more oval-shaped than the sub-eliptical form Cypseloidine swifts. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 118: 108-112. described in previous papers (Passeggi 2011, Dabbene Collins, C. T. & Peterson, B. M. 1998. Nocturnal chick provisioning 1918, Marín & Carrión 1994). Clutch size was similar by Black Swifts. Western Birds, 29: 227-228. to that observed in Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina, Dabbene, R. 1918. Nidos y huevos de vencejos. Hornero, 1(3): 193. except for the single nest with three chicks (Whitacre De Luca, A. C.; Develey, P. F.; Bencke, G. A. & Goerck, J. M. 2009. Áreas importantes para a conservação das aves no Brasil – parte II: 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992, Passeggi 2011). Plumage Amazônia, Cerrado e Pantanal. São Paulo: SAVE Brasil. development chronology resembled that described by Furlan, S. A. & Leite, S. A. (Coord.). 2009. Plano de Manejo Pergolani (1944) in Argentina, by Marín & Stiles (1992) do Parque Estadual Intervales. São Paulo: Fundação para a for White-collared Swifts in Costa Rica. Nestlings were Conservação e Produção Florestal do Estado de São Paulo, accompanied by an adult until they were covered with a Universidade de São Paulo. Hotta, M. 1994. Infanticide in little swifts taking over costly nests. thick layer of semiplumes, usually during the three first Animal Behaviour, 47(2): 491-493. weeks. Similarly to what was discussed for Cypseloides Koppen, W. 1948. Climatologia: com um estúdio de los climas da spp., the presence of an adult can be analyzed as a way of tierra. México, Fondo de Cultura Economica. providing smaller nestlings with thermal protection from Lack, D. 1956. A review of the genera and nesting habits of Swifts. The Auk, 73(1): 1-32. the cold environment in which the nest is located, either a Lack, D. & Lack, E. 1951. The breeding biology of the swift Apus cave or next to a waterfall (Marín & Stiles 1992). During apus. Ibis, 93: 501-546. the weeks that followed older chicks would remain Marín, M. 1997. On the behavior of the Black Swift. The Condor, alone for several hours and probably were fed at night as 99: 514-519. observed for other Cypseloidinae species (RNB pers. obs.; Marín, M. & Carrión, J. M. 1994. Additional notes on nest and eggs of some Ecuadorian birds. Ornitología Neotropical, 5:121-124. Collins 1998, Collins & Peterson 1998). Fledgings left the Marín, M. & Stiles, F. G. 1992. On the biology of five species of nest between 41-51 days, similar to what was observed in Swifts (Apodidae, Cypseloidinae) in Costa Rica. Proceedings of Costa Rica and Argentina (Marín & Stiles 1992, Passeggi the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, 4: 287-351. 2011). The wing raising display is an agonistic behavior Passeggi, J. M. 2011. First description of the breeding chronology of the White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) in Argentina. commonly observed in species of the Cypseloidinae and Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 123(3): 613-618. was noted right from the tender age of nestlings (Marín Pearman, M.; Areta, J. I.; Roesler, I. & Bodrati, A. 2010. & Stiles 1992, Marín 1997, Chantler 1999). Confirmation of the Sooty Swift (Cypseloides fumigatus) in The large amount of feathers found on the cave floor Argentina with notes on its nest placement, seasonality, and a few weeks after the last fledgings left their nests suggests distribution. Ornitologia Neotropical, 21: 351-359. Pergolani, M. J. 1944. Nota sobre el inmaturo del Vencejo de that adults might begin molt immediately after the Collar Blanco, Streptoprocne zonaris zonaris (Shaw). El Hornero, breeding period. After that, the number of swifts that use 8:491-492. the cave diminishes, as they probably migrate to unknown Pichorim, M. 2002. The breeding biology of the Biscutate Swift sites assumingly with better foraging conditions. (Streptoprocne biscutata) in Southern Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical, 13: 61-84. Pichorim, M. & Monteiro-Filho, E. L. A. 2008. Brood size and its importance for nestling growth in Biscutate Swift (Streptoprocne ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS biscutata, Aves: Apodidae). Brazilian Journal of Biology, 68: 851-857. I’m grateful to Dr. Paola Dall’Occo and Dr. Alexsander Rowley, S. J. & Orr, R. T. 1965. Nesting and feeding habits of the Antunes for their comments; Instituto Florestal and White-collared Swift. The Condor, 67: 449-456. CNPq for providing funding and permission to conduct Sick, H. 2001. Ornitologia brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira. Whitacre, D. F. 1989. Conditional use of nest structures by White- research activities at Intervales State Park; Fundação naped and White-collared Swift. The Condor, 91: 813-825. Florestal, field guides, manager and staff from Intervales State Park, especially Renato Paiva, Luiz Ribeiro, Faustino Soares and Gilberto “Betinho”; Charles Collins for his generous suggestions and reviews; and Humberto Lima Associate Editor: Caio Graco Machado for his company in the field. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ornithology Research Springer Journals

Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil

Ornithology Research , Volume 22 (4) – Dec 1, 2014

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Abstract

Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 341-346 ARTICLE December 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Bolsista de Iniciação Científica pelo Instituto Florestal-SP/CNPq, Rua Itacolomi, 456, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mail: renata.biancalana@gmail.com Received on 4 April 2014. Accepted on 11 November 2014. ABSTRACT: White-collared Swifts Streptoprocne zonaris are common throughout the tropical Americas. They usually breed in colonies in wet caves and next to waterfalls. Despite their widespread range, little is known about their breeding biology. Here I present data gathered from 2012 to 2014 at two breeding sites, Luminosa Cave and Água Comprida waterfall, located within Intervales State Park, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. More than 30 nests were found in the cave and one behind a waterfall. The egg-laying period began in late October and lasted until the first week of November. Nests were made mostly of bryophytes, with some fresh and dry leaves and sand. Eggs were dull white, and had an oval shape. Nestlings per nest varied from 1 to 3. The fledging period was between 41-51 days. This is the first record for this species of a successful nest with 3 nestlings. The species showed high nest site fidelity. Plumage development was similar to other species in the genus. KEYWORDS: Apodidae, caves, nest, nestlings, Streptoprocne. INTRODUCTION The objective of this work is to describe the nests, eggs and nestlings of White-collared Swifts based on The White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris is a observations conducted between December 2012 and common species with a wide range throughout the February 2014 at two breeding sites in a fragment of Atlantic rainforest in southeastern Brazil. Americas, occurring from South Mexico to the southern Andean highlands (Chantler 1999). In Brazil, it has been recorded from Amazonas to Rio Grande do Sul. One of the largest known concentrations of the species is in Aripuanã, METHODS Mato Grosso, where, together with Great Dusky Swifts, The study was conducted between March 2012 and Cypseloides senex, they form a colony of more than one February 2014 at two sites, Luminosa Cave and Água million individuals (Sick 2001, De Luca et al. 2009). Adult White-collared Swifts have a distinctive black Comprida waterfall, both located in Intervales State Park and brown plumage with a clear white collar circling (ISP), municipality of Ribeirão Grande, São Paulo, Brazil the entire neck (Sick 2001). Like other swifts of the (24º12' / 24º25'S and 48º03' / 48º30'W). The climate is classified as Cfb in Koppen’s International System and the Cypseloidinae subfamily, White-collared Swifts breed rainy season lasts from late October to March (Koppen near waterfalls, in canyons and wet caves in large colonies and show high nest site fidelity (Lack 1956, Rowley & 1948, Furlan & Leite 2009). Orr 1965, Whitacre 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992). They Luminosa Cave is a limestone cave located within forage in large flocks, and it is common to see mixed the buffer zone of ISP. It has three entrances: one is a large opening at the top, resembling a skylight, from where groups with Biscutate Swifts, Streptoprocne biscutata, water drips down, and two others at the entrance and the other Cypseloides and Chaetura spp., and Neotropical Palm Swifts, Tachornis squamata (Pichorim 2002, Chávez- exit of Lajeado River that cascades over an approximately Portilla et al. 2007, Pearman et al. 2010). Although its 7 m high vertical cliff and flows into the cave. It has range is well documented and the species is relatively variable luminosity conditions throughout the day, but the innermost area remains dark. The floor is composed of common in this country, there is a lack of information on piled rocky blocks and boulders, sand, leaves and guano. its breeding biology in Brazil and in South America, with few reliable records (Marín & Carrión 1994, De Luca et Just next to the cave’s riverside entrance, on the left side, al. 2009, Passeggi 2011). a high rock wall is used by the swifts to roost. Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana Água Comprida waterfall is a small waterfall, and mud. Fresh material was continuously added to the approximately 4 meters high, formed by the Água nests during the incubation period. Although some nests Comprida River. On the left side of the falls there is a looked ready to use, they remained empty, with no signs rock wall covered with moss where both White-collared of incubating adults or eggs. At the end of the season, Swifts and Sooty Swifts, Cypseloides fumigatus are known when most nestlings had fledged, nests in Luminosa to breed and roost. looked completely different from their original shape, Active nest searching and monitoring was conducted and many were reduced to just a thin layer of sand. The in March and December 2012 (10 h of observation), opposite was observed in the Água Comprida nest, which from January to March 2013 (16 h) and from October was almost intact and the moss that covered the exterior 2013 to February 2014 (51 h). Visits both to the cave and part was fresh and green, both in the 2012/2013 and the falls were made throughout the day (7 – 10 h; 14 – 2013/2014 breeding seasons. 17 h) and at three occasions at night (20 – 23 h). Direct Two oval shaped eggs were found and measured (egg observations of adults and chicks were made with Nikon 1: 13g, 37 x 25 mm; egg 2: 12 g, 35 x 26 mm). One was Monarch 8 x 42 binoculars. A ladder and flashlights were larger than the other, and also exhibited a mud-stained used to access the nests. Measurements were taken with coloration while the other was dull white. digital calipers, measuring tapes and 100g (+- 1 g) Pesola Adults were observed in their nests incubating at spring scales. Photographs were taken with Canon Rebel the beginning of the egg laying period in mid October XSi, T3i and PowerShot SX50 cameras, Sigma 150-500 and would remain in the same position for long periods. lens and with an IPhone 4S mobile phone. Many broken egg-shells were found on the ground near the nesting walls during the egg laying period. No attempts were made to replace lost eggs or nestlings. One RESULTS clutch was laid per nest per reproductive season. Nestlings per nest varied between 1 (n = 9), 2 (n = The breeding season of the White-collared Swift lasted 16) and 3 (n =1). I did not observe any newly hatched from mid-October to early January. Luminosa cave chicks. Nestlings were active and many were clinging to nests were concentrated in four distinct areas, many of the rock wall, seemingly curious with the flashlights. On which did not receive any direct sunlight. Most nests the same day I found a single nest in Água Comprida were isolated from each other by natural barriers such waterfall with two chicks. Their bodies were covered with as openings, stalactites or vertical walls that barred any semiplumes and they left their nest within the difference th th possible movement of offspring from one nest to another. of a day, between January 5 and 6 2013, and were More than 30 nests were found in Luminosa Cave observed roosting on the rock wall below their nest two th between the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons, but most weeks later, during an afternoon visit. On November 25 were inaccessible. Only 25 nests were monitored (Table 2013, a chick was observed together with an adult in 1). The most accessible nest measured: inside diameter Água Comprida waterfall. It had its body covered with th 12 cm, outside height 7 cm, internal depth 1.4 cm and a thin layer of gray semiplumes. On December 18 the height above ground 1.7 m. nest was empty. In Água Comprida waterfall, I found a single I was able to follow the development of six nestlings White-collared Swift nest. Nest measurements taken in during the 2013/2014 breeding season. On November th 2013 were: external diameter 17.5 cm, inside diameter 25 2013 two nestlings were observed (Figure 1). 14 cm, outside height 13.5 cm, internal depth 1.8 cm Determining the age of nestlings was based on our previous th and height above ground 2.7 m. It was built on a rock observations of the nest with two eggs on November 15 wall that had no protection from direct sunlight. It was 2013 and by comparisons with more detailed data for the directly exposed to spray from the waterfall and was species. Nestlings were assumed to be between 6-10 days located above a Sooty Swift nest. During nocturnal visits, old. Both had pink skin with short light gray semiplumes two adult White-collared Swifts were observed roosting on the mantle and on the rump. On the crown and on the next to their nest. coverts the semiplumes were just emerging from the skin. These observations revealed variations in the shape Feet were large and pinkish with dark gray nails. An egg of White-collared Swift nests. While Luminosa Cave tooth was visible on the point of the beak with a pinkish nests were disk-shaped and positioned on horizontal rock commissure. Only one of the nestlings had its eyes open. shelfs and ledges, with a much shorter mud base, the Both were lethargic, simply resting their heads on the Água Comprida waterfall nest was truncated and cone- nest’s rim. Two broken eggs shells were found on a rock shaped and built on a vertical rock wall, with a solid mud 1 m below it. The nest was covered with fresh green moss base. Nests were made of bryophytes, along with some and mud and two fecal sacs were observed in the back. roots, fresh and dry leaves of angiosperms, ferns, sand, When 11-15 days old, the nestlings were more active. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana FIGURE 1. Chronology of White-collared Swift nestlings: A: with 6-10 days; B: with 11-15 days; C: with 19-23 days; D: with 22-26 days; E: with 23-27 days; F: with 26-30 days; G: with 29-33 days; H: with 34-38 days. Photos: A, B, D, G, H: Renato Paiva; C, E, F: Renata Biancalana. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana TABLE 1. Fates of eggs and nestlings of the White-collared Swift found at Intervales State Park in 2012 and 2013. Whenever information on eggs is lacking for active nests during a given year, their content at the time could not be visually inspected. Usage Eggs Nest Number Fledglings Event 2012 2013 Laid Hatched Água Comprida waterfall N1 + 2 1 Disappeared Luminosa Cave N1 +2 2 N2 N3 + 1 0 Disappeared N4 + 1 N5 + 2 N6 N7 +22 2 N8 +22 2 N9 +22 2 N10 N11 N12 +22 2 N13 +22 2 N14 + 1 Their bodies were covered with a thicker layer of light gray and axillaries. With 29-34 days, the nape and mantle were semiplumes, with a bare strip near the abdomen. The feet covered with semiplumes, with a few feathers emerging were darker, with a grayish coloration. In the loral area from the sheaths. Semiplumes were visible on the flanks. and around the beak many tiny spots of feathers in pin Lesser coverts and the alula had feathers with thin whitish could be seen. The beak was dark gray. The eyes were black tips. Primaries and upper tail coverts also had pale border and opaque blue. From this day onwards, the nest became markings. When 32-37 days old, the body was largely increasingly dry and exhibited a less muddy aspect. When covered with contour feathers and semiplumes were only 19-24 days old their bodies and heads were covered with visible on the flanks. When the nestlings were 37-42 days semiplumes, with the coverts covering part of the wings old, their body was fully covered with contour feathers and primaries and secondaries breaking the sheaths. Tail and it was possible to observe the completed white neck feathers were growing and exhibited pointy shafts. Chicks collar and a light white patch on the chest. Semiplumes used to be very vocal when approached and handled, were still visible only on the thighs and on the flanks. emitting a sequence of high-pitched “pee-pee-pee” squeals. One of the nestlings was out of its nest, resting on a rock th Nestlings would occasionally peck each other on the head 1 m below it. On December 30 , the nest with two and on the back. When they were 22-27 days old, the nestlings was empty, with no signs of the fledgings. Insect primaries were growing and the all-surrounding white fragments were found next to all nests; it was not possible collar was not yet completely formed. Semiplumes were to determine if they had been present in excrement or had visible on the neck, mantle, nape and flanks. The head been dropped during chick provisioning. was covered with feathers. There was a bare area on the eye An unusual nest with 3 chicks was discovered on th patch with tiny feathers in pins coming out. When 26-31 December 8 2013. The three chicks were covered with days old, the head and body were covered with contour a thick layer of semiplumes. They were very active and feathers with semiplumes still visible on the flanks, mantle exhibited a wing raising display when approached. On Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana th December 11 , the chicks already exhibited white Adults were observed flying in and out of Luminosa feathers on the nape, but they were different with regard Cave all day long, and could be seen at night on the to their body size and feather development. Two of them roost wall, next to the cave’s entrance. When clinging on had their heads covered with contour feathers, whereas the wall, they would occupy themselves with preening the third still had semiplumes showing on its crown. activities, raising their wings and turning their heads Nestlings left the nest within a space of 5 days. The first towards each other. They were very active and vocal. rd th left between January 3 and 6 2014, and the second and Large flocks of White-collared Swifts, sometimes th th the third between January 6 and 8 (Figure 2). The nest with more than 100 individuals, were observed foraging was monitored until all three nestlings fledged. mostly during cloudy and stormy afternoons. When th On February 13 2014 we observed a large amount leaving or entering the cave or flying over a gorge they of feathers and droppings, mostly a combination of insect would begin voicing loud harsh calls. They were also fragments and guano, on the cave floor. observed foraging with Sooty Swifts but in smaller groups. th rd FIGURE 2. Nest with three nestlings: A. On December 8 2013, when I discovered the nest; B. On January 3 2014, the last time they were seen together. Photos: A. Renata Biancalana; B: Renato Paiva. DISCUSSION Nests were similar in shape and the materials used to those described in previous studies (Rowley & Orr Breeding activity started in mid-October. Egg-laying 1965, Whitacre 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992, Marín & occurred at the beginning of the rainy season, the same Carrión 1994). Many Luminosa nests were far from waterfall spray and were located in drier areas of the period described for the species in Argentina (Passeggi 2011). The presence of broken eggs on the cave floor was cave, which is different from what is described by some noted by other authors for White-naped, S. semicollaris, authors as the typical position for the nests of this species Biscutate and White-collared Swifts and was analyzed in (Chantler 1999). different ways. Some thought it was the result of accidental Like other species of the Cypseloidinae subfamily, White-collared Swifts showed high nest site fidelity, ejections, while others attributed these findings to nest disputes, brood parasitism or even from the intentional reusing the same niches and crevices in the cave and even riddance of infertile eggs (Lack & Lack 1951, Rowley & the same structure of previous nests, in the falls. This Orr 1965, Pichorim 2002). Whitacre (1989) states that agrees with previous observations (Marín & Stiles 1992). egg rolling would also be a main cause of reproductive After carefully looking at and comparing the pictures of nests both at the beginning and at the end of the breeding failure of White-naped Swifts in Mexico. Pichorim & Monteiro-Filho (2008) even considered egg ejection as season, it was possible to observe that all nests at Luminosa a means of possible brood population control by adults, Cave collapsed and were transformed into a thin layer of depending on the foraging conditions they might face. sand, probably due to the movements of nestlings and the Hotta (1994) suggests that egg ejection occurs as a decomposition of plant material in a dark environment. This suggests that Luminosa Cave nests are rebuilt at the consequence of severe competition for nests, which are a valuable asset since they last for many years and are costly beginning of the rainy season each year. On the other in time and energy to construct. hand, the nest in Água Comprida contained live moss Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014 Breeding biology of the White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris in southeastern Brazil Renata Neves Biancalana and was left almost intact during the whole year. The REFERENCES large structure of some nests is probably due to material Chantler, P. 1999. Family Apodidae (Swifts), p. 387-466. In: Del accumulation during several years of use. The proximity of Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (eds.). Handbook of the birds White-collared Swift nests to other Cypseloidinae species of the world, v. 5: barn-owls to hummingbirds. Barcelona: Lynx breeding at the same site was also observed in Argentina Edicions. by Pearman et al. (2010), with the difference that in Água Chávez-Portilla, G. A.; Hernández-Jaramillo, A.; Cortes-Herrera, J. O.; Villagran-Chavarro, D. X.; Drigelio-Gil, J.; Alarcón- Comprida waterfall two more nests of Sooty Swifts were Bernal, S. M.; Rodríguez, N. & Gamba-Trimiño, C. 2007. located higher than that of White-collared Swifts. Tercer registro del vencejo frente blanca (Cypseloides cherriei, Eggs were similar to those detailed in other studies, Apodidae) para Colombia. Boletín SAO, 17(1): 47-49. regarding coloration and measurements, although the eggs Collins, C. T. 1998. Food delivery and chick provisioning in found were more oval-shaped than the sub-eliptical form Cypseloidine swifts. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 118: 108-112. described in previous papers (Passeggi 2011, Dabbene Collins, C. T. & Peterson, B. M. 1998. Nocturnal chick provisioning 1918, Marín & Carrión 1994). Clutch size was similar by Black Swifts. Western Birds, 29: 227-228. to that observed in Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina, Dabbene, R. 1918. Nidos y huevos de vencejos. Hornero, 1(3): 193. except for the single nest with three chicks (Whitacre De Luca, A. C.; Develey, P. F.; Bencke, G. A. & Goerck, J. M. 2009. Áreas importantes para a conservação das aves no Brasil – parte II: 1989, Marín & Stiles 1992, Passeggi 2011). Plumage Amazônia, Cerrado e Pantanal. São Paulo: SAVE Brasil. development chronology resembled that described by Furlan, S. A. & Leite, S. A. (Coord.). 2009. Plano de Manejo Pergolani (1944) in Argentina, by Marín & Stiles (1992) do Parque Estadual Intervales. São Paulo: Fundação para a for White-collared Swifts in Costa Rica. Nestlings were Conservação e Produção Florestal do Estado de São Paulo, accompanied by an adult until they were covered with a Universidade de São Paulo. Hotta, M. 1994. Infanticide in little swifts taking over costly nests. thick layer of semiplumes, usually during the three first Animal Behaviour, 47(2): 491-493. weeks. Similarly to what was discussed for Cypseloides Koppen, W. 1948. Climatologia: com um estúdio de los climas da spp., the presence of an adult can be analyzed as a way of tierra. México, Fondo de Cultura Economica. providing smaller nestlings with thermal protection from Lack, D. 1956. A review of the genera and nesting habits of Swifts. The Auk, 73(1): 1-32. the cold environment in which the nest is located, either a Lack, D. & Lack, E. 1951. The breeding biology of the swift Apus cave or next to a waterfall (Marín & Stiles 1992). During apus. Ibis, 93: 501-546. the weeks that followed older chicks would remain Marín, M. 1997. On the behavior of the Black Swift. The Condor, alone for several hours and probably were fed at night as 99: 514-519. observed for other Cypseloidinae species (RNB pers. obs.; Marín, M. & Carrión, J. M. 1994. Additional notes on nest and eggs of some Ecuadorian birds. Ornitología Neotropical, 5:121-124. Collins 1998, Collins & Peterson 1998). Fledgings left the Marín, M. & Stiles, F. G. 1992. On the biology of five species of nest between 41-51 days, similar to what was observed in Swifts (Apodidae, Cypseloidinae) in Costa Rica. Proceedings of Costa Rica and Argentina (Marín & Stiles 1992, Passeggi the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, 4: 287-351. 2011). The wing raising display is an agonistic behavior Passeggi, J. M. 2011. First description of the breeding chronology of the White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) in Argentina. commonly observed in species of the Cypseloidinae and Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 123(3): 613-618. was noted right from the tender age of nestlings (Marín Pearman, M.; Areta, J. I.; Roesler, I. & Bodrati, A. 2010. & Stiles 1992, Marín 1997, Chantler 1999). Confirmation of the Sooty Swift (Cypseloides fumigatus) in The large amount of feathers found on the cave floor Argentina with notes on its nest placement, seasonality, and a few weeks after the last fledgings left their nests suggests distribution. Ornitologia Neotropical, 21: 351-359. Pergolani, M. J. 1944. Nota sobre el inmaturo del Vencejo de that adults might begin molt immediately after the Collar Blanco, Streptoprocne zonaris zonaris (Shaw). El Hornero, breeding period. After that, the number of swifts that use 8:491-492. the cave diminishes, as they probably migrate to unknown Pichorim, M. 2002. The breeding biology of the Biscutate Swift sites assumingly with better foraging conditions. (Streptoprocne biscutata) in Southern Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical, 13: 61-84. Pichorim, M. & Monteiro-Filho, E. L. A. 2008. Brood size and its importance for nestling growth in Biscutate Swift (Streptoprocne ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS biscutata, Aves: Apodidae). Brazilian Journal of Biology, 68: 851-857. I’m grateful to Dr. Paola Dall’Occo and Dr. Alexsander Rowley, S. J. & Orr, R. T. 1965. Nesting and feeding habits of the Antunes for their comments; Instituto Florestal and White-collared Swift. The Condor, 67: 449-456. CNPq for providing funding and permission to conduct Sick, H. 2001. Ornitologia brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira. Whitacre, D. F. 1989. Conditional use of nest structures by White- research activities at Intervales State Park; Fundação naped and White-collared Swift. The Condor, 91: 813-825. Florestal, field guides, manager and staff from Intervales State Park, especially Renato Paiva, Luiz Ribeiro, Faustino Soares and Gilberto “Betinho”; Charles Collins for his generous suggestions and reviews; and Humberto Lima Associate Editor: Caio Graco Machado for his company in the field. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 22(4), 2014

Journal

Ornithology ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2014

Keywords: Apodidae; caves; nest; nestlings; Streptoprocne

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