Development of thermoregulation and posthatching growth in the altricial cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus

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The development of thermoregulation and growth during the nestling period of cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus were examined in this study. It was hypothesised that, in comparison to other altricial species of similar body mass, cockatiel chicks develop endothermy earlier and consequently have less energy available for growth, resulting in reduced growth rates. While poorly insulated and blind at hatching, cockatiel developed endothermic responses in their first week, and were individually effectively homeothermic (with 75% of adult ability to maintain body temperature during exposure to 20°-25°C), by maintaining high metabolic rates (at all ambient temperatures tested) above the predicted resting rates of an adult of similar body mass before parental brooding ceased (12-13 d). Mass-independent metabolic rates were equivalent to those of fledglings at only 20% of the nestling period (37 d), well before adequate insulation was obtained. The Gompertz growth constants of cockatiel were significantly lower than those of other altricial land birds, which supports the hypothesis of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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