Reproduction of rock pigeon exposed to extreme ambient temperatures

Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol. 1988;90(3):497-500. doi: 10.1016/0300-9629(88)90226-5.


1. The breeding biology of rock pigeon (Columba livia) exposed to ambient temperatures (Ta) between 50 and 60 degrees C was investigated. 2. Four families accomplished three complete life cycles after long term daily exposure to extreme Ta, with about 100% success. 3. The steady state temperatures in the nest were 60, 58, 53 and 44.6 degrees C in the air, substrate surface, underwing, and in the egg's microenvironment, respectively. 4. At thermal conditions between 30 and 60 degrees C, egg temperature (Tegg) was regulated between 36.8 +/- 0.8 (S.D.) and 41.7 +/- 0.4 (S.D.). Tegg increases by 0.163 degrees C/1 degree C rise in Ta. 5. Mean Tb of the nonincubating parent exposed to 30-60 degrees C is 41.6 +/- 0.6 degrees C (S.D.). Under the same conditions the incubating parent regulated a significantly (P less than 0.01) lower Tb (38.8 degrees C) at 45 degrees C Ta and about 1 degree C lower Tb at 30 and 60 degrees C Ta, respectively. 6. By comparing the differences between fast (5 min) cooling of hot egg (44.8 degrees C) to slow heating (60-90 min), we could demonstrate the high sensitivity of the incubating parent to the danger of embryo overheating. 7. The significance of the adaptive behavioral and physiological mechanisms in breeding under extreme thermal conditions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature
  • Columbidae / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Reproduction*
  • Temperature*
  • Time Factors