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Estimating length of avian incubation and nestling stages in afrotropical forest birds from interval-censored nest records

January 1, 2010

In the East Usambara Mountains in northeast Tanzania, research on the effects of forest fragmentation and disturbance on nest survival in understory birds resulted in the accumulation of 1,002 nest records between 2003 and 2008 for 8 poorly studied species. Because information on the length of the incubation and nestling stages in these species is nonexistent or sparse, our objectives in this study were (1) to estimate the length of the incubation and nestling stage and (2) to compute nest survival using these estimates in combination with calculated daily survival probability. Because our data were interval censored, we developed and applied two new statistical methods to estimate stage length. In the 8 species studied, the incubation stage lasted 9.6-21.8 days and the nestling stage 13.9-21.2 days. Combining these results with estimates of daily survival probability, we found that nest survival ranged from 6.0% to 12.5%. We conclude that our methodology for estimating stage lengths from interval-censored nest records is a reasonable and practical approach in the presence of interval-censored data. ?? 2010 The American Ornithologists' Union.