Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow: From Genes to Populations

Hardcover | July 9, 2007

byTed R. Anderson

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After the chicken, the House Sparrow is the most widely distributed bird species in the world, occurring on all continents except Antarctica and on most human-inhabited islands. Although its Latin name is Passer domesticus, it is certainly not domesticated. In fact, it is widely regarded as apest species and is consequently not protected in most of its extensive range. This combination of ubiquity and minimal legal protection has contributed to its wide use in studies by avian biologists throughout the world. The purpose of this book is to review and summarize the results of these global studies on House Sparrows, and to provide a springboard for future studies on the species. House Sparrows have been used to study natural selection in introduced species, circadian rhythms, and the neuroendocrinecontrol of the avian annual cycle. One current question of considerable interest concerns the catastrophic House Sparrow population declines in several urban centers in Europe. Is the House Sparrow a contemporary canary in the mine? Other topics of broad interest include the reproductive andflock-foraging strategies of sparrows, and sexual selection and the function of the male badge in the species. Anderson also explores the role of the House Sparrow in disease transmission to humans and their domesticated animals.

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After the chicken, the House Sparrow is the most widely distributed bird species in the world, occurring on all continents except Antarctica and on most human-inhabited islands. Although its Latin name is Passer domesticus, it is certainly not domesticated. In fact, it is widely regarded as apest species and is consequently not protect...

Ted R. Anderson is Emeritus Professor of Biology at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:560 pages, 6.18 × 9.21 × 1.18 inPublished:July 9, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019530411X

ISBN - 13:9780195304114

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Table of Contents

1. TAXONOMY AND DISTRIBUTIONThe Genus passerThe Origin of P. DomesticusPasser domesticusDistribution of the House SparrowRange Expansion in the House Sparrow2. EVOLUTION AND GENETICSProfessor Bumpus and His SparrowsNatural Selection in Introduced SparrowsGenetics of the House Sparrow3. ANNUAL CYCLEThe Gonadal CycleCircadian Rhythmicity4. BREEDING BIOLOGY AND REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGYAge at First ReproductionMating SystemTiming of BreedingNest Sites and NestsEgg Laying and Clutch SizeEgg size and CompositionIncubation and HatchingNestling Growth and SurvivalNumber of Broods and Cessation of BreedingReproductive LifespanCaptive Breeding5. PLUMAGES AND MOLTPlumage DescriptionPterylosisMoltPtilochronologyPlumage MaintenanceIncubation PatchBadge Size in Males6. FORAGING BEHAVIOR AND FOODForaging Strategy of the House SparrowDiet of the House Sparrow7. SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND VOCALIZATIONSVocalizationsDisplaysCommunal Roosting8. POPULATION DYNAMICS AND MOVEMENTSDecline in House Sparrow NumbersPredationParasitism and DiseaseInterspecific CompetitionChanges in Agricultural PracticesSurvival RatesThe Sex Ratio ConundrumMovementsWhere Have All the Sparrows Gone?9. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGYIntegrumentary SystemSkeletal SystemMuscular SystemNervous SystemEndocrine SystemCirculatory SystemRespiratory SystemDigestive SystemExcretory SystemReproductive SystemBody Mass and Composition10. HUMAN COMMENSALISM AND PEST MANAGEMENTObligate Commensal?Pest StatusPest ManagementPositive Impacts of SparrowsSociology of SparrowsAppendixLiterature CitedIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Remarkable book ... If you have any interest in the biology of this quintessential 'little brown bird', still an enigma in many ways, then Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow is an absolute must."--IBIS