Development of Temperature Regulation in Precocial Chicks: Patterns in Shorebirds and Ducks

  • G. Henk Visser
  • Robert E. Ricklefs
Part of the Advances in Pharmacological Sciences book series (APS)


We compared the degree of homeothermy, the level of peak metabolic rate, and minimal thermal conductance in shorebird neonates of 15 species (neonatal body mass 4–55 g) with literature data on duck neonates of 11 species (neonatal body mass 17–61 g). In addition, we have studied the development of homeothermy in shorebird chicks during postnatal growth. In shorebird neonates a positive relationship existed between neonatal body mass and degree of homeothermy. In contrast, duck neonates of all sizes appeared to be homeothermic. The observed differences in degree of homeothermy between shorebird and duck chicks could almost entirely be explained by differences in peak metabolic rate.


Metabolic Heat Production Duck Species Shorebird Species Minimal Thermal Conductance Small Chick 
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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Henk Visser
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert E. Ricklefs
    • 4
  1. 1.Zoological LaboratoryUniversity of GroningenHarenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre for Isotope researchGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Division PhysiologyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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