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Greater energy stores enable flightless moulting geese to increase resting behaviour

Authors

  • STEVEN J. PORTUGAL,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Ornithology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
      Corresponding author.
      Email: sportugal@rvc.ac.uk
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    • Present address: Structure and Motion Lab, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK.

  • JONATHAN A. GREEN,

    1. School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK
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  • THEUNIS PIERSMA,

    1. Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Marine Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands
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  • GÖTZ EICHHORN,

    1. Université de Strasbourg, IPHC–DEPE, 23 rue Becquerel, 67087 Strasbourg, France
    2. CNRS, UMR7178, 67037 Strasbourg, France
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  • PATRICK J. BUTLER

    1. Centre for Ornithology, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
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Corresponding author.
Email: sportugal@rvc.ac.uk

Abstract

Many species of waterfowl undergo a post-breeding simultaneous flight feather moult (wing moult) which renders them flightless and vulnerable to predation for up to 4 weeks. Here we present an analysis of the correlations between individual time-budgets and body mass states in 13 captive Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis throughout an entire wing moult. The daily percentage of time spent resting was positively correlated with initial body mass at the start of wing moult. Behaviour of individual birds during wing moult is dependent on initial physiological state, which may in turn be dependent on foraging ability; the storage of energy before the start of wing moult will help birds to reduce exposure to the dangers of predation.

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