Heat Increment of Feeding in the Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, and its Natural Seasonal Variation

  • Dirkjan Masman
  • Serge Daan
  • Maurine Dietz
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIAS, volume 173)


We measured the Heat Increment of Feeding (H) as the difference in oxygen consumption between the fed and fasting state in the kestrel at different ambient temperatures. Total H is a constant fraction of metabolizable energy intake and amounts to 16.6% of the energy assimilated. The effect of a meal was detected as elevation in metabolic rate lasting until 20 hours after the meal, independently of meal size. Below thermoneutral temperatures only part of H compensates for the cost of thermoregulation (T) up to a reallocation of 50% of H to T. Even at low temperatures (-12 °C) metabolic rate of fed kestrels is thus higher than that of fasting birds.

Using field data on daily metabolizable energy intake and meal-timing we conclude that average daily energy expenditure for H, after compensation for thermoregulation costs, varies from 7 % of daily energy expenditure in April to 15 % in August. Due to the habit of selecting sheltered roost sites, the nocturnal operative temperature is higher than that in daytime. Thereby the typical pattern of evening feeding, as observed in the kestrel during winter, can not be functionally explained by the reduction of total daily costs for thermoregulation.


Basal Metabolic Rate Meal Size Daily Energy Expenditure Specific Dynamic Action Harp Seal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirkjan Masman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Serge Daan
    • 1
  • Maurine Dietz
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoological LaboratoryUniversity of GroningenHarenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre for Isotope ResearchUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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