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Growth patterns of Hawaiian Stilt chicks

Wilson Bulletin

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Abstract

We studied chick growth and plumage patterns in the endangered Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni). Body mass of captive chicks closely fit a Gompertz growth curve, revealing a growth coefficient (K) of 0.065 day-1 and point of inflection (T) of 17 days. When chicks fledged about 28 days after hatching, they weighed only 60% of adult body mass; at 42 d, birds still were only 75% of adult mass; culmen, tarsus, and wing chord at fledging also were less than adult size. This trend of continued growth to adult size after fledging is typical for most shorebirds. After hatching, captive chicks grew more rapidly than wild chicks, probably because of an unlimited food supply. We found no evidence for adverse effects of weather on the growth of wild chicks. As with other shorebirds, the tarsus started relatively long, with culmen and then wing chord growing more rapidly in later development. Tarsal and wing chord growth were sigmoidal, whereas culmen growth was linear. We describe plumage characteristics of weekly age classes of chicks to help researchers age birds in the wild.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Growth patterns of Hawaiian Stilt chicks
Series title:
Wilson Bulletin
Volume
111
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Wilson Bulletin
First page:
478
Last page:
487