Birds ‘feed UV-reflective nestlings over UV-blocked ones’

April 10th, 2011 - 7:11 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 10 (ANI): A new study has found that birds feed their brood depending on the UV light they reflect - feeding the shinier chicks bigger helpings of food.

Jesus Aviles at the Arid Zone Research Station in Almeria, Spain, examined European rollers (Coracias garrulus) and found that the foreheads of heavier chicks reflect less UV than weaklings, reports New Scientist.

The team then weighed 84 chicks born in nest boxes. They applied either a jelly containing a UV blocking agent or just jelly to the foreheads of the chicks before weighing them again four hours later to see how much their parents had fed them.

They found that parent birds with large broods preferentially fed UV-reflective nestlings over UV-blocked ones. This made it clear that they used UV to decide which mouth to feed. (ANI)

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