and replacement are sometimes observed during studies of cavity-nesting birds.
This could be due to abandonment by the first female to lay, with subsequent
replacement by another female, or to male infanticide. Clutch replacement is
accompanied in some cases by evidence of aggressive competition between females
and of destruction of eggs/hatchlings immediately prior to a new clutch being
laid. This may indicate that clutch replacements are in fact nest take-overs by
females after eviction of incumbent females. In the course of long-term studies
of pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca iberiaein central Spain, I have
found evidence of clutch destruction through egg burial and ejection and
replacement during laying or incubation, as well as of female-female
aggression. No male involvement has been detected. Clutch
replacements occur with a frequency that depends on the density of available
nest-boxes and is positively associated with the rate of nest-box occupation by the same or other species.
Moreover, clutch replacements can be accompanied by female wounds or death and
involve clutch destruction in all cases. Putative replacers within the area of
highest occupation frequently display the white forehead patch that is more
typical of males, which may thus be associated with social dominance in females
in Iberian populations. Clutch replacements in cavity-nesters should be studied
in detail to confirm whether they represent cases of nest take-overs by
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