Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 333–339

Food availability and immune capacity in serin (Serinus serinus) nestlings

  • Maria Hoi-Leitner
  • Marilo Romero-Pujante
  • Herbert Hoi
  • A. Pavlova
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s002650000310

Cite this article as:
Hoi-Leitner, M., Romero-Pujante, M., Hoi, H. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2001) 49: 333. doi:10.1007/s002650000310

Abstract.

Parental feeding effort is an important determinant of chick development in birds. Quality and amount of food provided to each nestling, however, might affect the development of the immune system. Food availability around the nest site may account for part of the difference in body condition and immune capacity of nestlings. We tested this idea in the socially monogamous serin (Serinus serinus), investigating growth and immune capacity of nestlings in relation to food availability around the nest site. We used a set of immunological and serological assays, including antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (SRBCs), the T lymphocyte cell-mediated immune response (PHA), granulocyte:lymphocyte ratio (G:L), haematocrit and sedimentation rate. The results suggest that serins raised under poor environmental conditions were less immunocompetent. The immune response to PHA and SRBCs significantly increased with food availability. Haematocrit values were positively, sedimentation rate and the G:L ratio negatively correlated with food availability. Similar results were obtained when examining chick development in relation to the immunological and serological variables. However, there was a negative relationship between parental feeding rates and food availability, as well as between parental feeding rates and chick development. We conclude that body condition and immune capacity of nestlings are strongly correlated with the availability of food around the nest site.

Food availability Immune capacity Body condition Parental care Chick development Brood size 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Hoi-Leitner
    • 1
  • Marilo Romero-Pujante
    • 1
  • Herbert Hoi
    • 1
  • A. Pavlova
    • 1
  1. 1.Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Ethology, Savoyenstrasse 1a, 1160 Vienna, Austria

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