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An Evaluation of Condition Indices for Birds

Douglas H. Johnson, Gary L. Krapu, Kenneth J. Reinecke and Dennis G. Jorde
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jul., 1985), pp. 569-575
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801673
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801673
Page Count: 7
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An Evaluation of Condition Indices for Birds
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Abstract

A Lipid Index, the ratio of fat to fat-free dry weight, is proposed as a measure of fat stores in birds. The estimation of the index from field measurements of live birds is illustrated with data on the sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) and greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons). Of the various methods of assessing fat stores, lipid extraction is the most accurate but also the most involved. Water extraction is a simpler laboratory method that provides a good index to fat and can be calibrated to serve as an estimator. Body weight itself is often inadequate as a condition index, but scaling by morphological measurements can markedly improve its value.

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