Arabian Babblers (Turdoides squamiceps) are territorial, cooperative breeding passerines that inhabit extreme deserts and live in groups all year round. All members of the group feed nestlings in a single nest, and all group members provision at similar rates. Nestlings are altricial and fledge at about 12 to 14 days, which is short for a passerine of its body mass. Because parents and helpers feed nestlings, we hypothesized that the growth rate of nestlings is fast and that they fledge at a body mass similar to other passerine fledglings. Using a logistic growth curve, the growth rate constant (k) of nestlings was 0.450, which was 18% higher than that predicted for a passerine of its body mass. Asymptotic body mass of fledglings was 46 g, which was only 63% of adult body mass, a low percentage compared to other passerines. Energy intake retained as energy accumulated in tissue decreased with age in babbler nestlings and amounted to 0.29 of the total metabolizable energy intake over the nestling period. However, energy content per gram of body mass increased with age and averaged 4.48 kJ/g body mass. We concluded that our hypothesis was partially confirmed. Growth rate of babbler nestlings was relatively fast compared to other passerine species, but fledgling mass was relatively low.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology