Parental quality and egg size affect chick survival in a precocial bird, the lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Oecologia. 1997 Mar;110(1):18-24. doi: 10.1007/s004420050128.


Effects of egg size and parental quality on lapwing Vanellus vanellus chick survival were studied in southwestern Sweden over 6 years. Chicks from large eggs were heavier at hatching and survived significantly better than those from small eggs. To control for the confounding effect of parental quality on egg size and chick survival, we performed a cross-fostering experiment during 2 years, exchanging clutches between nests with large and small eggs. In control clutches, chicks from large eggs survived better than those from small eggs, but we found no significant difference in chick survival between exchanged clutches. Thus, egg size did not affect chick survival independently of parental quality. Fledging success increased with parental age and/or experience, and with female body mass. Hence, both egg size and parental quality affect chick survival in the lapwing.

Keywords: Cross-fostering; Key words Chick survival; Egg size; Lapwing; Parental quality.