rspb20232264_si_001.pdf (579.81 kB)
Supplementary file includes supplementary tables, supplementary figures and supplementary methods on the birds' sexing procedure and on the determination of clutch age. from Extended incubation recesses in sanderlings are impacted by temperature and body condition
journal contributionposted on 2024-02-09, 20:46 authored by Léa Etchart, Nicolas Lecomte, François Xavier Dechaume Moncharmont, Jérôme Moreau, Johannes Lang, Thomas Pagnon, Benoit Sittler, Maria Teixeira, Loïc Bollache, Olivier Gilg
Complex incubation strategies have evolved to solve the trade-off between parent survival and care for their eggs with often brief departures (recesses) that maximize egg survival, and infrequent extended recesses maximizing adult condition. Here we examined incubation behaviour of Sanderlings (Calidris alba), a species that exhibits both bi- and uniparental incubation behaviour. During 11 breeding seasons in Greenland, we have quantified incubation variability with thermologgers placed in nests. We estimated the impact of environmental conditions and individual characteristics on the occurrence and the duration of recesses. We found that extended recesses are a unique feature of uniparentals, and their frequency and duration increased in colder temperatures. The relationship was mediated by body condition, with individuals in poor condition performing longer extended recesses in colder temperatures. This suggests that extended recesses may represent a shift towards self-maintenance at the expense of the egg care, allowing birds to continue incubating under unfavourable conditions. Our study illustrates how extended recesses may be a key breeding strategy to overcome high energetic costs associated with incubation. Quantifying such behavioural flexibility paves the way for tracking future behavioural responses of individuals in the face of changing environments.