Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Adaptive hatching hypotheses do not explain asynchronous hatching in Brown-headed Parrots Poicephalus cryptoxanthus

Stuart Taylor, Michael R Perrin


At the core of the suite of adaptive hatching hypotheses advanced to explain asynchronous hatching in birds is the assumption that if food is not limited then all the hatchlings will develop normally to adulthood. In this study Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus chicks were hand fed and weighed on a daily basis. Their respective masses were compared using a reparamatised Richards growth model. The results show that although the second and third hatched chicks initially grow faster than the first, the final mass attained by the third chick is significantly less than either of its siblings. Adaptive hatching hypotheses do not explain this result. We propose that the third chick is opportunistic and that is has evolved as insurance against prior chicks surviving because of interspecific pressure on the breeding biology of the species.

Ostrich 2008, 79(2): 205–209

AJOL African Journals Online