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Differences in Fecal Androgen Patterns of Breeding and Nonbreeding Kori Bustards (Ardeotis kori)


  • This article was published online on 19 July 2012. Subsequently, an error relating to Figure 1 was identified, and was corrected on 13 August 2012.

  • Grant sponsor: AirTran; Grant sponsor: Kori Bustard Species Survival Plan.

Correspondence to: L.M. Penfold, South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation, Yulee, FL 32097. E-mail:


To better understand breeding conditions to promote reproduction in captive kori bustards, fundamental endocrine studies measuring fecal androgen metabolites in male and female kori bustards were conducted. Feces collected weekly from males and females were analyzed for testosterone using enzyme-linked immunoassay. Results from adult males (n = 5), adult females (n = 10), immature males (n = 10), and immature females (n = 10) revealed seasonally elevated testosterone concentrations in fertile, but not nonfertile adult males and females (P > 0.05). Adult females that were not maintained in a breeding group, or that did not produce eggs, did not demonstrate increases in testosterone compared to egg laying counterparts. In males, but not females, seasonal testosterone increases were accompanied by weight gain. Peaks in male fecal androgen metabolites ranged from 10- to 22-fold higher than nonbreeding season (181.5 ± 19.1 vs. 17.0 ± 0.94 ng/g; P < 0.05). Mean breeding season values for adult males were 83.6 ± 6.1 ng/g vs. nonbreeding season values of 12.3 ± 0.73 ng/g (P < 0.05). In females, average breeding season testosterone concentrations were approximately 4-fold higher than nonbreeding season (55.9 ± 6.0 vs. 14.5 ± 1.8 ng/g), with peaks 10- to 30-fold higher. Results show that noninvasive fecal androgen metabolite analysis can provide a means of predicting fertility potential of male and female kori bustards and might be utilized to assess effects of modifying captive environments to promote reproduction in this species. Zoo Biol. 32:54-62, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.