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Belly-soaking: A behavioural solution to reduce excess body heat in the Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus

AuthorsAmat, Juan A. ; Masero, José A.
Issue Date2009
CitationJournal of Ethology 27: 507- 510 (2009)
AbstractDuring nesting, many temperate and tropical shorebirds are exposed to direct solar radiation and face heat stress. The aim of our study was to determine whether belly-soaking (wetting of ventral plumage) contributes to reducing excess body heat in Kentish plovers Charadrius alexandrinus. We captured incubating plovers on sunny days at their exposed nests, and placed them inside cloth bags at ground level in exposed sites for 5 min. This produced an increase in the ambient temperature experienced by the plovers, as well as an increase in the body temperature of the plovers. We simulated belly-soaking by submerging the ventral parts in water for about 10 s immediately after removing the birds from the bag. The body temperature of the plovers was lowered after simulated belly-soaking. Our results indicate that belly-soaking is a behavioural strategy to quickly reduce body temperature in heat-stressed plovers. © Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2008.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10164-008-0139-3
issn: 0289-0771
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