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Bird populations -- United States, Avian biology, Eastern Kingbirds


Variation in timing of breeding in Eastern Kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus) was correlated only weakly with external morphological characters, but was correlated positively and significantly with estimates of body size based on measurements of skeletons and muscle weights. Small females apparently held a reproductive advantage in being able to mobilize resources for reproduction before large females. Egg weight was independent of all measures of female size, but was directly and significantly (P = 0.03) correlated with standard flight muscle weight, a relative index of body condition. Egg size was thus a function more of female body condition than size. On average, shell, yolk, and albumen comprised 5.6%, 21.9%, and 72.5%, respectively, of fresh egg weight. Dry albumen and dry shell increased proportionately with fresh egg weight, but dry yolk did not. Total protein, lipid, and energy of fresh eggs all increased proportionately with weight. Comparison of egg composition and standard flight muscle weight of laying females indicated moderate positive, although nonsignificant, correlations between body condition and measures of egg quality, especially lipid content. Based on postegg- laying body composition and nutrient requirements for the production of one egg, it appeared that most females probably could have laid an additional egg almost solely from body reserves. Clutch size thus appears to be independent of body condition.


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