Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Hoset K.S., Espmark Y., Moksnes A., Haugan T., Ingebrigtsen M. & Lier M. (2004) Effect of ambient temperature on food provisioning and reproductive success in snow buntings Plectrophenax nivalis in the high arctic. ARDEA 92 (2): 239-246
Climatic conditions may have large implications for the reproductive cycle in birds, especially for a small songbird breeding in the high arctic. In three consecutive breeding seasons, the relationship between ambient temperature, and parental feeding rate and reproductive success was investigated in Snow Buntings Plectrophenax nivalis at Spitzbergen. Rates of food provisioning increased from 12 h-1 to 22 h-1 when temperatures during the previous incubation period varied between 0c and 5C. Parental feeding was also increased when temperatures at feeding occasions were low. The temperature thus affected parental feeding, probably both through thermoregulatory demands of the chicks, and through an effect on the development of insects, the primary food source during summer. Mean temperature during incubation and parental feeding rate are both important factors describing reproductive success: between 0 and 5C, the number of fledglings per nest increased from 3.5 to 4.5. This indicates that food availability and related provisioning are key determinants for reproductive success.


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