Variation in the growth and survival of Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria chicks


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The growth of Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria chicks is modelled in detail for the first time. The pattern of growth is typical of postnatal development in waders, although the mean fledging time of 37 days is slower than would be expected from adult body weight. Bill length and weight at hatching had significant effects on the rate of weight gain shown by 2-day-old chicks, although this effect was not noticeable at 4 days of age. Chick survival was significantly affected by bill length, as a result of the variation in weight gain. The growth of older chicks was positively correlated with mean minimum temperature. The slow rate of growth exhibited by Golden Plover chicks is discussed in relation to breeding habitat and the effects of weather and hatchling biometrics.