Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings

Meijer T, Nienaber U, Langer U, Trillmich F (1999)
CONDOR 101(1): 124-132.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
Many small passerine species breed earlier after a warm rather than a cold spring (long-term effect), and then start egg-formation after a clear increase in ambient temperature (T-a) (short-term effect). We investigated the role of T-a on timing of breeding and the exact time of egg-laying in both a free-living and captive breeding population of European Starlings Sturnus vulgaris. The start of the breeding season of free-living starlings in southern Germany was highly correlated with T-min from March. In captivity under ad libitum feeding conditions, low T-a during February retarded reproductive development and behavior. thereby delaying the onset of breeding. Egg-formation occurred during a period with elevated temperatures. By increasing or decreasing the temperature of the nestbox by 2-3 degrees C. from late March onwards, differences were found in the number of breeding females and the start of egg-laying between groups with heated, unmanipulated, and cooled nestboxes. Most females with cooled nestboxes started egg-formation in the week after the cooling stopped. Experiments under temperature controlled conditions in captivity showed that almost all starlings delayed egg-laying during a period when T-a was kept at 7 degrees C, then started laying one week after a 5 degrees C increase in T-a. The sensitivity of the reproductive system of starlings to spring temperatures seems to be an adaptive response, timing the period for laying (short-term effect) and for raising the young (long-term effect) to periods with high food availability.
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Meijer T, Nienaber U, Langer U, Trillmich F. Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings. CONDOR. 1999;101(1):124-132.
Meijer, T., Nienaber, U., Langer, U., & Trillmich, F. (1999). Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings. CONDOR, 101(1), 124-132.
Meijer, T., Nienaber, U., Langer, U., and Trillmich, F. (1999). Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings. CONDOR 101, 124-132.
Meijer, T., et al., 1999. Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings. CONDOR, 101(1), p 124-132.
T. Meijer, et al., “Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings”, CONDOR, vol. 101, 1999, pp. 124-132.
Meijer, T., Nienaber, U., Langer, U., Trillmich, F.: Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings. CONDOR. 101, 124-132 (1999).
Meijer, T, Nienaber, U, Langer, U, and Trillmich, Fritz. “Temperature and timing of egg-laying of European Starlings”. CONDOR 101.1 (1999): 124-132.
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