Facultative primary sex ratio variation: a lack of evidence in birds?

Abstract

The facultative control of primary sex ratio by breeding birds has become a major focus in evolutionary biology in recent years. A combination of well–developed theoretical literature and rapid publication of empirical results has created considerable confusion, with controversial claims for both extreme control of primary sex ratio versus no control around inherent random variability. We present a robust and quantitative summary of published empirical literature to assess clearly the body of evidence for female birds to control sex assignment in their offspring. Our meta–analytical approach reveals that published studies do not exhibit any variability beyond that which could be expected owing to sampling error. Therefore, we conclude that facultative control of offspring sex is not a characteristic biological phenomenon in breeding birds.

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