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Faecal sexual steroids in sex typing and endocrine status of great bustards

AuthorsBautista, Luis M. ; Silván, Gema; Cáceres, Sara; Martínez-Fernández, Leticia; Bravo, Carolina ; Illera, Juan Carlos ; Alonso López, Juan C. ; Blanco, Guillermo
KeywordsFaecal steroids
Great bustard
Non-invasive sampling
Otis tarda
Population monitoring
Sex determination
Issue DateDec-2013
CitationEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research 59(6): 815-822 (2013)
AbstractFaecal sexual steroids have been used in field studies evaluating the relationships between gender and the multiple factors influencing endocrine status of individuals. The determination of faecal steroids has been also proposed as an alternative, non-invasive sexing method when other methods were deemed impractical or risky for the health of birds. In this study, we quantified sexual steroid hormones in faeces of the great bustard (Otis tarda), a large and sexually dimorphic polyginic bird species that it is threatened and subjected to intense wildlife management. We evaluated differences between captivity and wild conditions, flocks and sexes, and used faecal steroids to develop sex determination procedures. We found similar steroid levels in captive and wild bustards, no differences between unisexual wild flocks and clear between-sexes differences in testosterone but not estradiol. Faecal steroids accurately discriminated gender in both captive and wild known-sex great bustards. Total testosterone concentration was always higher than estradiol concentration in faecal samples from males, but estradiol was not always higher than testosterone in females. Faecal steroids failed to reveal the presence of young males in female flocks during winter, despite faecal testosterone levels increased with age in a small sample of captive males. Our results show that faecal steroid measurement for both sexing and characterizing the endocrine status of great bustards is feasible, and therefore it should be valuable in wildlife management, especially in combination with additional information obtained from faeces as diet
Description8 paginas, 2 figuras y 1 table
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-013-0735-6
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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