Thermal imaging of House Sparrow nestlings: The effect of begging behavior and nestling rank

Oded Ovadia, Berry Pinshow, Arnon Lotem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We used infrared imaging to test whether the energetic cost of begging is observable in changes in body surface temperature (Ts) of young House Sparrow nestlings (Passer domesticus), and whether Ts is affected by nestling rank. Begging had a mixed effect on Ts, increasing it slightly at first, but decreasing it when hungry nestlings begged more vigorously. This mixed effect may result from heat production being quickly offset when begging posture and movement enhance heat loss through the skin, and suggests that the energetic cost of begging cannot be inferred from thermal imaging. The analysis of Ts in relation to nestling rank showed that although low-ranked nestlings maintained lower Ts than their larger siblings, their Ts was higher than expected for their body mass. This suggests that nestlings of a lower rank may gain heat from their larger, more developed nestmates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-842
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Body surface temperature
  • Infrared thermal imaging
  • Nestling begging
  • Passer domesticus
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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