Exposure to agricultural habitat early in life seems to speed up the reproductive schedule of a tropical bird species.

Credit: Nick Garbutt/Nature Picture Library

Samantha Cartwright at the University of Reading, UK, and her colleagues looked at 23 years of life-history data for 79 female Mauritius kestrels (Falco punctatus; pictured), a threatened, forest-dwelling bird. The authors found that birds born in nests near agricultural areas had lower survival rates as young adults, but also bred earlier in life, compared with birds born in forested habitats.

This reproductive shift could be an adaptive response to nutritional stress in early life that foreshadows a harsh or unpredictable adult life, the authors suggest.

Curr. Biol. http://doi.org/rnc (2014)