Navigation Links
Scavenger birds chew the fat
Date:9/8/2008

Humans aren't the only ones who like fatty foods - bearded vultures do, too. A study by Antoni Margalida from the Bearded Vulture Study and Protection Group in El Pont de Suert, Spain, has found that the bearded vulture will discard less energy-dense bones and choose only the bones containing the highest fat content both for its consumption and delivery to its young. His findings will be published this week in the Springer journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

The bearded vulture is the only vertebrate with a bone-dominated diet and can ingest bones up to 28 cm (11 inches) long and up to 4 cm (1 inches) wide. This makes sound ecological sense because due to their high fat content, mammal bones actually have a higher energy content than muscle tissue. To aid ingestion or transportation, the bearded vulture breaks up large bones on rocky surfaces, known as 'ossuaries', throwing the bones down from the air until they break up into small enough pieces to be swallowed or carried. Bearded vultures are one of the few species of vulture who do not feed their young by regurgitation but transport prey remains to the nest in their feet and bills.

Margalida chose to study bearded vultures living in the mountains of the Pyrenees in Spain. It is a harsh environment and the author believes this contributes to the bearded vultures' high energy requirement leading them to choose smaller, more energy dense bones. This way they ensure that the energy consumed is greater than the energy expended in obtaining the food. As well as energy density, he also wanted to study whether larger bones were discounted as being too difficult to transport and swallow.

As he had expected, bones left in the feeding stations and ossuaries, which had not been selected by the bearded vultures, had a lower content of oleic acid than those bones which had been selected. This would imply that nutritive content had a greater impact on choice than bone size. Similarly, the bearded vultures also selected the bones with the highest fat content to transport to their nests.

Margalida concludes that 'the close association between bones selected and their high fat value implies an optimization of foraging time and of the increased energy gained from the food'. He adds that these findings have consequences for conservation of both the wild and captive populations of this endangered species. Efforts to facilitate geographic expansion and breeding of the vultures should use the most nutritive bones in feeding programs. He pinpoints tibias, tarsals and extremities as being particular favorites.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Deep sea methane scavengers captured
2. Distinguishing between 2 birds of a feather
3. Brown tree snake could mean Guam will lose more than its birds
4. For the birds or for me? Why do conservationists really help wildlife?
5. Songbirds may hold key to advances in treatment of brain degeneration
6. Birdsong not just for the birds
7. Do birds have a good sense of smell?
8. How birds spot the cuckoo in the nest
9. Birds migrate together at night in dispersed flocks, new study indicates
10. Want to fly? Dont copy the birds and the bees
11. Killer whales, blind bats, discriminating dolphins, mating birds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... , March 2, 2017 Summary ... better understand Merck KGaA and its partnering interests and ... https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/3605601/ Description The Partnering Deals and Alliance ... partnering activity of one of the world,s leading life ... prepared upon purchase to ensure inclusion of the most ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... ANGELES , Feb. 28, 2017   Acuant ... verification software globally, announces significant enhancements to new and ... May 2016. New products include mobile and desktop Acuant ... DocX TM - a real time manual review ... core idScan┬« technology provides the fastest and most accurate ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... Feb. 25, 2017  Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announces ... Reentry. "Too often, too many offenders ... county jails are trying to tackle this ongoing ... friends and family members. While significant steps are underway, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017   iSpecimen ┬«, the ... Doctors Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service anatomic ... the United States , has joined a ... Information Network (DHIN) to make human biospecimens and ... The novel program, announced in 2015 as a collaboration ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017   Boston Biomedical , ... therapeutics designed to target cancer stemness pathways, today announced ... Andrews as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 24, ... Chiang J. Li , M.D., FACP, who has led ... ago. Under his leadership, Boston Biomedical has grown from ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Proper glycosylation is critical for ... increase and/or decrease in antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity or complement-dependent cytotoxicity, there is a ... , To meet this demand, the team at SCIEX has developed a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... ) has unveiled its innovative Quantum peristaltic pump with patented ReNu single-use ... sets the new standard for high-pressure feed pumps in SU tangential flow ...
Breaking Biology Technology: