Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Nutrient Reserves and the Energetics of Reproduction in American Coots

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1985
Authors:Alisauskas, RT, C. Ankney, D
Journal:The Auk
Date Published:1985
ISBN Number:00048038
Keywords:Fulica, Fulica americana, Fulica atra, Rallidae
Abstract:To investigate the bioenergetics of reproduction in American Coots (Fulica americana) we collected 108 males and 93 females at Delta Marsh, in southern Manitoba, in 1981. Prenesting and nesting birds were analyzed for fat, protein, and ash content in the nonreproductive tissue. For females, these values were compared to the nutrient requirements of the reproductive tissue during egg-laying. We suggest that feeding conditions before arrival can affect subsequent reproductive output. Fat reserves may function as a threshold that influences the initiation of breeding; protein reserves and time of arrival influence the timing of a nesting attempt. We infer that territory quality is important and that it can result in the termination of laying before nutrient reserves are depleted. By distributing costs of clutch formation before (through nutrient storage) and after (through increased biparental care of eggs and young) clutch formation, the required energy intake concurrent with egg-laying is substantially reduced in female coots.
Short Title:The Auk
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith