The effect of corticosterone on standard metabolic rates of small passerine birds

J Comp Physiol B. 1991;161(4):427-31. doi: 10.1007/BF00260804.


Resting metabolic rates of Gambel's white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) and pine siskins (Carduelis pinus) were evaluated at thermoneutral temperatures before and after administration of corticosterone (B) at physiological doses. There was no effect of B on basal metabolic rate of either species, but nocturnal metabolic rate varied significantly less over the 3-h period of measurement in B-treated sparrows and siskins than in control birds. These results, coupled with observations of caged birds, suggest that corticosterone has no direct effect on avian resting metabolism but does reduce the responsiveness of birds to external stimuli and thus promotes nocturnal restfulness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism / drug effects
  • Birds / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology*
  • Darkness
  • Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Species Specificity


  • Corticosterone