Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 549–555 | Cite as

Does body size influence nest attendance? A comparison of Ross’s geese (Chen rossii) and the larger, sympatric lesser snow geese (C. caerulescens caerulescens)

  • Jón Einar Jónsson
  • Alan D. Afton
  • Ray T. Alisauskas
Short Note


The body-size hypothesis predicts that nest attendance is positively related to body size among waterfowl and that recess duration is inversely related to body size. Several physiological and behavioral characteristics of Ross’s geese (Chen rossii) suggest that females of this species should maintain high nest attendance despite their relatively small body size. Accordingly, we used 8-mm films to compare the incubation behavior of Ross’s geese to that of the larger, closely-related lesser snow geese (C. caerulescens caerulescens; hereafter, snow geese) nesting sympatrically at Karrak lake, Nunavut, Canada in 1993. We found that nest attendance averaged 99% for both species. Our results offer no support for the body-size hypothesis. We suggest that temperature requirements of embryos in relation to short incubation duration and a low foraging efficiency of females select for high nest attendance in both snow geese and Ross’s geese.


Body size Endogenous reserves Geese Incubation Nest attendance 


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jón Einar Jónsson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alan D. Afton
    • 3
  • Ray T. Alisauskas
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Snæfellsnes Research CentreUniversity of IcelandStykkishólmurIceland
  3. 3.United States Geological Survey, Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife, Research UnitLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  4. 4.Canadian Wildlife ServiceSaskatoonCanada

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