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Hematological Health State Indices Predict Local Survival in a Small Passerine Bird, the Great Tit (Parus major)

Priit Kilgas, Vallo Tilgar and Raivo Mänd
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology: Ecological and Evolutionary Approaches
Vol. 79, No. 3 (May/June 2006), pp. 565-572
DOI: 10.1086/502817
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/502817
Page Count: 8
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Hematological Health State Indices Predict Local Survival in a Small Passerine Bird, the Great Tit (Parus major)
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Abstract

Abstract In birds, it has been shown that reproductive effort may impair parental condition, while the relation of different condition indices to subsequent survival is still poorly understood. In this study, we measured body mass and various hematological condition indices in breeding great tits in relation to local survival. Number and quality of nestlings and the occurrence of second broods, potentially reflecting parents’ breeding effort, were also considered in analyses. The great tits, both male and female, that returned the following year had had a higher albumin/globulin ratio, lower plasma globulin concentration, and a lower heterophile/lymphocyte ratio during breeding in the preceding year, compared to those who did not return. Surviving males (but not females) also had had a higher level of circulating lymphocytes, compared to nonsurvivors. There was no correlation between breeding effort and survival. We conclude that better immunological state and lower stress in great tits during breeding were positively related to their survival probability.

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