Shell thickness and pore density in relation to shell colouration, female characteristics, and environmental factors in the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Avian eggshell structure may have important consequences for embryonic growth and development, but relatively little is known about the factors responsible for variation in eggshell characteristics of wild birds. In this paper, we explored potential causes of variation in eggshell colour and structure (shell thickness and porosity) in the Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). We analysed if eggshell colour is affected by shell structure or pigment level, and whether female traits, laying date, local breeding density, and clutch size affect shell thickness and pore density. We found that eggshell blue-green and UV colours were unrelated to shell thickness, pore density and egg size. Eggs with higher concentration of biliverdin showed lower UV reflection and higher reflection in the blue-green part of the spectrum. We found that females in better nutritional condition, indicated by their higher mass controlled for tarsus length, laid eggs with thicker shells. It is possible that females in better condition have more time available for searching calcium-rich food, and thus could produce eggs with stronger shells. However, female physical characteristics had no significant relationships with shell porosity. In contrast to our expectation, shell thickness and pore density were unrelated to local breeding density and laying date, though very late and repeat clutches were not sampled in our study. However, we found that eggs in larger clutches had lower pore density than eggs in smaller clutches, which may be expected if the rate of water loss and nest humidity are to remain constant in clutches of different egg numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-588
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Volume152
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2011

Keywords

  • Biliverdin
  • Eggshell pigmentation
  • Eggshell porosity
  • Eggshell structure
  • Eggshell thickness
  • Ficedula albicollis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Shell thickness and pore density in relation to shell colouration, female characteristics, and environmental factors in the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this