Birds of Indian Subcontinent

A comparison of breeding and moult cycles and life histories in two tropical starling species: the Blue-eared Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus and Rüppell's Long-tailed Glossy Starling L. purpuropterus

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1987
Authors:Dittami, JP
Date Published:1987
ISBN Number:1474-919X
Keywords:Aplonis, Aplonis panayensis, Kenya, Lamprotornis, Lamprotornis caudatus, Lamprotornis chalybaeus, Lamprotornis purpuroptera, Lamprotornis purpuropterus, Sturnidae, Sturnus, Sturnus vulgaris
Abstract:The Blue-eared Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus and Rüppell's Long-tailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis purpuropterus were investigated in the field and in aviaries at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya for seasonality in reproductive activity and moult. The former species was found to be a seasonal breeder which nests after the onset of the heavy rains in April. Although some birds had large gonads prior to the rains in the dry season no nesting occurred. The rains were contemporary with increases in gonadal size and the plasma titres of LH, testosterone (T) in males and estradiol (E2) in females. These hormones are associated with the initiation of breeding activity. As breeding ceased in July and the moult began, the plasma titres again decreased. There was a bimodal breeding pattern which paralleled a change in biotope preference for nesting. Early nests, in the heavy rains, were on the open savanna and later nests were in the acacia forest. Late nesting birds also had delayed peaks in gonadal size, plasma titres of LH, T and E2 and a delayed moult onset. Data on individual captive birds demonstrate that these annual cycles have a distinctly individual character superimposed on the seasonal trends. In Rüppell's Long-tailed Glossy Starlings no seasonality in breeding was found although the flight feather moult commenced and was completed in all individuals at about the same time. The moult extended over about ten months, so a great deal of breeding-moult overlap was present. The absence of seasonality in field birds was reflected in the aviary birds, which had no pronounced cycles in the reproductive parameters measured (gonadal size, LH, T and E2 plasma titres). Breeding in field birds was regulated on a pair basis and correlated with increases in duetting. The striking differences in the seasonal organization between this species and Blue-eared Glossy Starlings were presumably due to the different biotope preferences and social behaviour of the two species.
Short Title:Ibis
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith