The homeothermic capacity of chicks varied as a function of brood size, age, and air temperature. Commitment to rooding by parents also varied as a function of brood size, age of the young brooded, and prevailing air temperature. It was experimentally determined that parents altered their brooding commitment in direct response to the achieved mean homeothermic capacity of the brood rather than energy demands of the brood per se. Because larger broods achieved a given level of homeothermic capacity earlier than smaller broods, parents spent less time brooding larger broods. This "freed" time represented an increase in potential foraging time by the parents. However, there was no evidence that parents used this potential increased foraging time to elevate the energy return to the nestlings. Other possible advantages of a facultative brooding response by parents are discussed.
- temperature regulation,
- parental care,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/larry_clark/115/