Abstract

Our knowledge of the energetics of avian reproduction has increased dramatically since Ricklefs (1974) summarized the literature on the subject and attempted to structure existing descriptive information into an evolutionary context. So many studies now exist on avian reproduction that time and space limitations for this chapter required some critical decisions. I chose to leave out male reproductive energetics in hopes that some other person will soon undertake a review of that important subject. Furthermore, space availability precluded mention of many important studies in the area of female reproduction, and I apologize to those whose work is not cited herein. The goal of this chapter is to use the nutrient and energetic contents of avian eggs as background for understanding how various factors affect the accumulation and packaging of nutrients both in individual eggs and in clutches and how nutrient limitations affect reproduction. This chapter is therefore directed primarily at the physiological and biochemical level of avian reproduction, but these topics cannot be treated in isolation from ecological and evolutionary considerations. Therefore, I tried to link the energetics and nutritional aspects of avian reproduction to ecological and evolutionary theory where applicable, but no attempts were made to resolve current conflicts in these latter areas.

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  • Cynthia Carey

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