n African Zoology - Nestling growth, plumage development and rate of prey delivery at a nest of the desert cisticola, - : short communication

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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Despite the widespread occurrence of the desert cisticola, <I>Cisticola aridula</I>, little is known about its general biology and, in particular, the nestling period. We studied the nestling period, chick development and rate of prey delivery at a single nest in the Polokwane Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province. A nest with three naked chicks and an egg was discovered on 6 February 2003 and the following day, the fourth egg had also hatched. Data collection commenced on 7 February 2003. The nestlings were weighed, selected biometric measurements were taken and the state of feather development was recorded every second day for the duration of the nestling period. We also determined the rate of prey delivery to nestlings every fourth day. The nestling period in this study (13 days) differed from that reported in the literature (18 days). Nestlings were fed by the female only. The rate of food delivery increased from 50 visits (day 2) to 115 (day 10) for a 12.5-hour observation period. The one-dayold chicks' mass ranged from 1.1 g to 1.7 g (average= 1.45 g) and they fledged at an approximate mean mass of 8.8 g (8.4-9.5 g).

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