J. Jordan Price, professor of biology and Steven Muller Distinguished Professor of the Sciences at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and co-author Simon C. Griffith from Macquarie University, Sydney, had a paper titled, “Open Cup Nests Evolved from Roofed Nests in the Early Passerines,” published on Feb 1 in the Royal Society Journal “Proceedings B.” The paper focuses on how among passerine birds, a group which includes more than half of all avian species, most species build open cup-shaped nests. A minority build more elaborate roofed structures. Their study shows that, contrary to previous assumptions and despite their relative rarity, roofed nests were constructed by the common ancestor of all modern passerines. Open cup nests evolved multiple times independently during early passerine evolution on the Australian continent, eventually becoming the most common nest type across the world today. The roofed nests of many well-known Australian songbirds, including lyrebirds and fairy-wrens, reflect this ancestral form.
The full paper can be found online: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1848/20162708