Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 209–212 | Cite as

Evaluation of a glossmeter for studying the surface appearance of avian eggs

  • Golo Maurer
  • Phillip Cassey
Technical Notes


Gloss is a striking characteristic of avian eggshells that may affect both egg recognition and clutch predation. Previously, gloss has proved difficult to quantify objectively. Newly developed handheld glossmeters seem to offer a solution. We evaluated the use of a handheld glossmeter for a range of different eggshell surfaces, shapes and sizes. In all cases, their measurements were strongly affected by egg size and seem currently suitable only for very large eggs; the size of Rhea sp. eggs or larger. A glossmeter may, however, still prove useful to quantify other structures in comparative ornithology, with flat surfaces such as feathers or nest material.


Eggshell Structure Repeatability Tinamou Feather 


Glanz ist eine markante Eigenschaft der Eierschalen der Vögel, die sowohl Ei-Erkennung als auch Gelegeprädation beeinflussen kann. Bisher hat sich Glanz meist als schwer quantifizierbar erwiesen. Neu entwickelte, tragbare Glanzmesser scheinen eine Lösung für diese Problem zu bieten. Wir haben den Gebrauch von Glanzmesser für ein weites Spektrum von Eierschalen verschiedener Oberflächen und Größen evaluiert. Für alle Eier war die Messung stark von der Größe abhängig und Glanzmesser scheinen derzeit nur für sehr große Eier, vom Rhea sp. Ei aufwärts, anwendbar. Glanzmesser könnten jedoch bei der Quantifizierung von Glanz flacher Objekte, wie Federn oder Nestmaterial, nützliche Anwendung in der vergleichenden Ornithologie finden.



We are very grateful to John Godrich Ltd. and the Zehntner GmbH for kindly loaning us a ZGM 1120.268 to conduct the study and for their advice. We also thank the Natural History Museum in Tring for providing the egg samples from their destructive collection. R Boulton, S Coward, T Harrison, J Myatt and S J Portugal kindly gloss-scored the eggs. The work was funded by a HFSP young investigators grant and a Leverhulme Trust project grant to P.C.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ornithology, School of BiosciencesBirmingham UniversityBirminghamUK
  2. 2.School of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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