Food restricted Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) nestlings increase vocal activity during handling without modulating total or free corticosterone y

Cory T. Williams, Alexander S. Kitaysky, C. Loren Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

In some species, corticosterone (CORT) appears to play a role in the control of begging behavior. Because of the potentially high costs associated with chronic elevation of CORT, it has also been proposed as a mechanism to ensure begging is an honest signal. We determined the effects of moderate food restriction (50% of high calorie treatment) on vocal behavior during handling, and on baseline levels of both total and 'free' unbound CORT in Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) nestlings. Chick vocalizations during handling were similar to begging calls, and we assumed they were representative of begging behavior. We also measured total and free CORT in free-living Tufted Puffin chicks to determine if hormone levels in our experiment were comparable to natural levels. We found no effect of caloric restriction on either total or free baseline CORT, yet food-restricted nestlings vocalized more intensely during handling than chicks in the high calorie group. Mean plasma concentrations of total and free CORT in experimentally manipulated birds did not differ from levels in free-living nestlings. These results suggest that CORT does not play a role in modulating begging behavior in this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Volume149
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Begging
  • Corticosterone
  • Nutritional Stress
  • Seabird
  • Tufted Puffin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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