An open-content, electronic journal published by the Animal Demography Unit
at the University of Cape Town

Growth and development of nestlings: Sabota Lark Calendulauda sabota

Derek Engelbrecht and Mmatjie Mashao

Abstract: Knowledge of the growth and development of nestlings has widespread application in fundamental and applied ornithology. Unfortunately detailed information on species-specific growth and plumage development patterns is lacking for most species. Here we present the results of a study on growth in selected mass and biometric parameters as well as plumage development based on data collected from 20 Sabota Lark Calendulauda sabota nestlings. The results revealed extremely rapid growth of the tarsus which is an adaptive strategy allowing nestlings to fledge at an early age and hence reduce the likelihood of a predator depredating the entire brood. There was also interesting variation in the presence or absence of down on the ventral surface and the position, size and number of tongue spots. This study provided a foundation for future comparative studies on avian life history strategies in larks.

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