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Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour
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  • 22 b/w illus. 12 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages
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 (ISBN-13: 9781139118231)

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Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour provides a broad view of our current understanding of the biology of the nests, bowers, and tools made by birds. It illustrates how birds, among vertebrates, have more impressive and consistent building abilities than any other builders, excluding humans. However, birds seem to require no special building equipment and use quite uncomplicated behavior. The book raises general issues in the field of behavioral ecology, including the costs of reproduction, sexual selection, and the organization and complexity of behavior. This volume was written for students and researchers of animal behavior, behavioral ecology, and ornithology, it will nevertheless make fascinating reading for architects and engineers interested in understanding how structures are created by animals.


1. Animal builders and the importance of bird nests; 2. The clutch-nest relationship; 3. Standardising the nest description; 4. Construction; 5. The structure; 6. The cost of nest building; 7. The selection of a nest site; 8. Bowers, building quality and mate assessment; 9. The evolution of nest building; Bibliography; Index.


"...clearly organized and very well written...This book is a treasure...and is a pleasure to read..." Ethology

"Hansell's book contains loads of information that will be both helpful to the scientist and interesting to the is thorough, engaging, and fun to read. Hansell's book will be enjoyed by students of ornithology, animal behavior, ecology, and evolutionary biology. It will become a valuable part of the collections of university libraries, professional ornithologists, and those generally enthusiastic about all things avian." Auk

"Well written...provides and excellent overview...Of interest to anyone with a passion for evolutionary biology, the book describes fascinating works of engineering and architecture...bird nests are beautiful and serve their purpose well. The same can also be said of this book." Nature

"This is a comprehensive and stimulating volume for students and professional researchers in ecology, evolution, and ornithology at many levels. Discussions of nest structure and material properties will appeal to engineers, architects, and students of materials science. The book contains a wealth of excellent and well-selected black-and-white illustrations and photographs, and greatly extends the work of earlier volumes of bird-nesting biology." Choice

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