Parental energy expenditure during brood rearing in the Great Tit (Parus major) in relation to body mass, temperature, food availability and clutch size

J.M. Tinbergen, M.W. Dietz

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Abstract

1. Quantification of the energetic needs of reproducing animals provides a basis for understanding patterns in reproduction. The doubly labelled water technique enables this to be carried out under natural conditions.

2. Daily energy expenditure of 32 female Great Tits (Parus major) tending nestlings 11-12 days old (DEE(par)) and energy expenditure at night of five females was measured using the doubly labelled water technique.

3. Average DEE(par) was 95.1 kJ (24 h)-1 (1.10 W) and close to most predictions based on interspecific allometric relationships. Night metabolism was estimated to be 0.68 W.

4. Individual variation in DEE(par) could be explained by variation in body mass (+), ambient temperature (-), clutch size (+) and food availability (-) but not by female tarsus length, age, brood size or nestling mass. The significant factors together accounted for the differences found between years and broods and explained 64% of the variation. Possible causal pathways are discussed.

5. The DEE(par) in Great Tits was related to body mass with an exponent of 1.99; significantly steeper than the interspecific exponent of 0.67-0.75 reported in the literature. Analysis of intraspecific variation in DEE(par) for 10 species tending young, revealed variable trends with body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct-1994

Keywords

  • ALLOMETRY
  • BIRDS
  • DOUBLY LABELED WATER
  • INTERSPECIFIC VARIATION
  • INTRASPECIFIC VARIATION

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