Document Detail

Prey availability affects daily torpor by free-ranging Australian owlet-nightjars (Aegotheles cristatus).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22173484     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Food availability, ambient temperatures (T (a)), and prevailing weather conditions have long been presumed to influence torpor use. To a large extent, this is based on measurements in the laboratory of animals placed on restricted diets and kept at low T (a). Information on the determinants of torpor employment in the field is limited. We assessed winter torpor by insectivorous, free-ranging Australian owlet-nightjars (Aegotheles cristatus; 22 birds, 834 bird-days over six winters). Birds in three habitats were investigated to test whether torpor use is affected by annual T (a), rainfall, and arthropod abundance. Owlet-nightjars entered daily torpor regularly at all sites. Torpor frequency, depth and bout duration were greatest during two periods with lower arthropod abundance, providing rare evidence of the link between food availability and torpor patterns of wild birds. Temporal organization of torpor was similar among sites, and nocturnal torpor was more frequent than previously reported. Our findings quantitatively demonstrate that reduced food resources affect torpor usage independently from T (a), and support the view that food availability is a primary ecological determinant of torpor use in the wild.
Lisa I Doucette; R Mark Brigham; Chris R Pavey; Fritz Geiser
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-12-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-12-16     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Centre for Behavioural and Physiological Ecology, Zoology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, 2351, Australia,
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