Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. 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.

Guts Don't Fly: Small Digestive Organs in Obese Bar-Tailed Godwits

Theunis Piersma and Robert E. Gill, Jr.
The Auk
Vol. 115, No. 1 (Jan., 1998), pp. 196-203
DOI: 10.2307/4089124
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4089124
Page Count: 8
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($15.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
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.
Guts Don't Fly: Small Digestive Organs in Obese Bar-Tailed Godwits
Preview not available

Abstract

We documented fat loads and abdominal organ sizes of Bar-tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri) that died after colliding against a radar dome on the Alaska Peninsula, most likely just after takeoff on a trans-Pacific flight of 11,000 km, and of birds of the same subspecies just before northward departure from New Zealand. We compared these data with data on body composition of godwits of the smaller lapponica subspecies obtained during a northward stopover in The Netherlands. As a consequence of high amounts of subcutaneous and intraperitoneal fat, and very small fat-free mass, Bar-tailed Godwits from Alaska had relative fat loads that are among the highest ever recorded in birds (ca. 55% of fresh body mass). Compared with northbound godwits from New Zealand, the Alaskan birds had very small gizzards, livers, kidneys, and guts. This suggests that upon departure, long-distance migrants dispense with parts of their "metabolic machinery" that are not directly necessary during flight, and rebuild these organs upon arrival at the migratory destination.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
196
    196
  • Thumbnail: Page 
197
    197
  • Thumbnail: Page 
198
    198
  • Thumbnail: Page 
199
    199
  • Thumbnail: Page 
200
    200
  • Thumbnail: Page 
201
    201
  • Thumbnail: Page 
202
    202
  • Thumbnail: Page 
203
    203