The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Extended incubation recesses in sanderlings are impacted by temperature and body condition"

Posted on 2024-02-09 - 20:46
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.


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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Léa Etchart
Nicolas Lecomte
François Xavier Dechaume Moncharmont
Jérôme Moreau
Johannes Lang
Thomas Pagnon
Benoit Sittler
Maria Teixeira
Loïc Bollache
Olivier Gilg
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