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Timing of Laying by Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and Sand Martins (Riparia riparia)

Angela K. Turner
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Feb., 1982), pp. 29-46
DOI: 10.2307/4308
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4308
Page Count: 18
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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.
Timing of Laying by Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and Sand Martins (Riparia riparia)
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Abstract

(1) The aim of the study was to assess constraints on the timing of breeding of swallows and sand martins using an energetics model based on time budgets, energy budgets and food collection rates. (2) Energy budgets were constructed for egglaying and incubating female swallows and sand martins from time budgets and D2O18 measured flight costs. Food boluses were obtained by collaring nestlings, and the rate of food collection was determined. (3) The availability and the body composition of the insect prey were measured. (4) The diets of the swallow, sand martin and house martin during egglaying are compared. The swallow is more reliant on large items than are the other hirundines. (5) During egglaying sufficient energy and protein are quickly collected by both species for their daily energy requirements and for egg production: the limiting nutrient is calcium, but this may be obtained from grit. (6) At critically low temperatures the foraging rate is depressed to such a low level that the females are unable to meet their daily energy requirements. (7) It is suggested that the female swallow defers laying until the risk of encountering bad weather during incubation is low since she incubates alone. The sand martin lays earlier because it can risk incubating in bad weather since the male shares in the incubation duties.

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