Experimental evidence for the influence of food availability on incubation attendance and hatching asynchrony in the Australian reed warbler Acrocephalus australis

Eikenaar, Cas, Berg, Mathew L. and Komdeur, Jan 2003, Experimental evidence for the influence of food availability on incubation attendance and hatching asynchrony in the Australian reed warbler Acrocephalus australis, Journal of avian biology, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 419-427.


Title Experimental evidence for the influence of food availability on incubation attendance and hatching asynchrony in the Australian reed warbler Acrocephalus australis
Author(s) Eikenaar, Cas
Berg, Mathew L.
Komdeur, Jan
Journal name Journal of avian biology
Volume number 34
Issue number 4
Start page 419
End page 427
Total pages 9
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Copenhagen, Denmark
Publication date 2003
ISSN 0908-8857
1600-048X
Summary The amount of time a bird allocates to incubation is likely to be limited by energetic constraints. If food is abundant, energetic constraints may be reduced and the time spent incubating (incubation attendance) may increase. Moreover, the onset of incubation in relation to clutch completion may be advanced, resulting in a higher degree of hatching asynchrony. We measured the effect of experimentally increased food availability on incubation attendance and an estimate of hatching asynchrony in the Australian reed warbler Acrocephalus australis. Supplementary food was provided every other day, from a few days before the start of egg laying until just prior to hatching. Incubation attendance was measured with temperature loggers at nests receiving supplementary food and control nests. Hatching asynchrony was inferred from mass and size differences between siblings shortly after hatching. We found that 1) food supplementation resulted in an increase in incubation attendance, when comparing both nests receiving supplementary food to control nests as well as feeding to non-feeding days in nests receiving supplementary food, and 2) food supplementation resulted in a greater hatching asynchrony, without affecting clutch size, average egg volume or the likelihood of eggs hatching. This suggests that food availability acts in a proximate way to modify the extent of incubation attendance and hatching asynchrony. We discuss the adaptive significance of increased incubation attendance and a shift in the degree of hatching asynchrony in relation to food availability.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2003, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30025946

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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