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Journal Article

Incubation during the Egg-Laying Period in Relation to Clutch-Size and Other Aspects of Reproduction in the Great Tit Parus major

Svein Haftorn
Ornis Scandinavica (Scandinavian Journal of Ornithology)
Vol. 12, No. 3 (Dec., 1981), pp. 169-185
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3676074
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3676074
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Incubation during the Egg-Laying Period in Relation to Clutch-Size and Other Aspects of Reproduction in the Great Tit Parus major
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Abstract

The brood patch of the female was well-developed several days before the clutch was complete. Effective incubation started as soon as the first egg was laid and was combined with the nightly rest. Although lasting only 0.5-1.5 h to begin with, the time spent incubating progressively increased. Daytime incubation started later and, on average, was first fully developed 2.8 d after the night-time incubation was fully established. The rate of incubation development was significantly correlated with clutch-size and the hatching period. Because the mortality of the latest hatched young increases with age difference within broods, selection tends to keep the incubation time in the egg-laying period below a certain 'critical' level (about 1000 minutes). The possibility that the amount of time devoted to incubation in the laying period influences the endocrine state of the female and thus the clutch-size, is discussed.

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