The nesting biology of the family Ardeidae (bitterns, herons, and egrets) has been intensively studied (e.g., Owen 1960, Milstein et al. 1970, Werschkul 1979), but egg size in relation to laying order bas not received attention. The last egg laid in gull and tern clutches is generally smaller than preceding eggs (e.g., Parsons 1970, Nisbet 1978). The relative size of the final egg in a clutch decreases with increased body size among bird species and this relationship may be correlated with an increased brood-reduction strategy (Slagsvold et al. 1984). Relative egg size could be an important component to brood reduction, because egg size can affect subsequent survival of young (Parsons 1970, Nisbet 1978, Lundberg and Vaisanen 1979).
Additional publication details
Egg size and laying order of snowy egrets, great egrets, and black-crowned night-herons