Avian Desert Predators

by William E. Cook

Series: Adaptations of Desert Organisms
Pages: 128
Publisher: ---
Edition: 1st ed., 1997
Language: English
ISBN: 978-3-642-64367-5


Birds are not particularly well suited to desert life. Unlike mammals, they are generally active during the day and do not usually go underground to escape the intense desert heat. Among the few types of birds that have successfully invaded the desert ecosystem are the predators. Many species of hawks, owls, roadrunners, vultures, and shrikes survive very well in deserts. What attributes make this group especially suited to desert life? How have they augmented their abilities to cope with the harsh constraints imposed by the desert habitat? These are among the issues explored in this new volume, which brings together much of the current research on adaptations of avian desert predators. With 25 Figures.

Table of contents
1 Introduction.- 1.1 The Desert Environment.- 1.2 Temperature Regulation in Desert Birds.- 1.2.1 Physiological Cooling.- 1.2.2 Behavioral Cooling.- 1.2.3 Pigmentation.- 1.3 Advantages of a Carnivorous Diet for Desert Survival.- 1.4 Water Conservation in Desert Birds.- 1.4.1 Water Conservation in the Respiratory System.- 1.4.2 Water Conservation in the Kidney.- 1.4.3 Water Conservation in the Digestive System.- 1.4.4 Breeding Cycle Adjusted to Rainfall.- 2 Vultures.- 2.1 Predatory Behavior in Vultures.- 2.1.1 The Desert Scavenger Niche.- 2.1.2 Do Vultures Hunt by Smell or Sight?.- 2.1.3 Nasal Epithelium.- 2.1.4 Defense.- 2.1.5 Breeding Timed to Food Availability.- 2.2 Temperature Regulation in Vultures.- 2.2.1 Soaring as a Means of Temperature Regulation.- 2.2.2 Heat Dissipation and Associated Behavior.- 2.2.3 Legs as Sites of Temperature Regulation.- 2.2.4 Hyperthermia.- 2.2.5 Physiological Adaptations for Heat Conservation.- 2.2.6 Behavioral Modifications for Heat Conservation.- 2.3 Water Conservation in Vultures.- 2.3.1 Sources of Water.- 2.3.2 Water Loss Through Evaporation.- 3 Hawks and Allies.- 3.1 Predatory Behavior in Hawks and Allies.- 3.1.1 Euryphagy.- 3.1.2 Agility and Diverse Hunting Strategies.- 3.1.3 Cooperative Hunting.- 3.1.4 Hunting Open Areas.- 3.1.5 Hunting from the Ground.- 3.1.6 Hunting at Waterholes.- 3.1.7 Predator and Prey Conspicuousness.- 3.2 Breeding Behavior in Hawks and Allies.- 3.2.1 Breeding Biology Adapted to Predatory Behavior.- 3.2.2 Breeding Season.- 3.2.3 Cooperative Breeding.- 3.2.4 Population Size Regulation.- 3.3 Temperature Regulation in Hawks and Allies.- 3.3.1 Behavioral Adaptations.- 3.3.2 Physiological Adaptations.- 3.3.3 Morphological Adaptations.- 3.4 Water Conservation in Hawks and Allies.- 3.4.1 Carnivorous Diet.- 3.4.2 Physiology of Water Conservation.- 3.4.3 Water Conservation During Breeding.- 4 Roadrunners.- 4.1 Predatory Behavior in Roadrunners.- 4.1.1 Diurnal Activity.- 4.1.2 Euryphagy.- 4.1.3 Camouflage and Terrestrial Hunting.- 4.1.4 Prey Selection.- 4.2 Temperature Regulation in Roadrunners.- 4.2.1 Adaptations for Warming.- Sunbathing.- Hypothermia.- 4.2.2 Adaptations for Cooling.- Legs as Thermoregulators.- Hyperthermia.- Panting.- Guiar Flutter.- Evaporation from the Skin.- Rete Mirabile Ophthalmicum.- 4.3 Water Conservation in Roadrunners.- 4.3.1 Sources of Water.- 4.3.2 Water Loss Through Evaporation.- 4.3.3 Adaptations for Water Conservation.- Water Conservation in the Kidney.- Water Conservation in the Digestive System.- Salt Excretion.- Water Conservation in the Respiratory System.- Water Conservation in the Reproductive Cycle.- 5 Owls.- 5.1 Predatory Adaptations in Owls.- 5.1.1 Nocturnal Species.- 5.1.2 Crepuscular Species.- 5.1.3 Diurnal Species.- 5.1.4 Antipredator Adaptations.- 5.2 Temperature Regulations in Owls.- 5.2.1 Adaptations for Warming.- Insulation.- Migration.- Hypothermia.- Sunbathing.- 5.2.2 Adaptations for Cooling.- Plumage Modifications to Retard Heat Gain.- Behavioral Modifications to Retard Heat Gain.- Basal Metabolism.- Thermoneutral Zone.- Hyperthermia.- Evaporative Cooling.- Heat Radiation.- 5.3 Water Conservation in Owls.- 5.3.1 Sources of Water.- Free Water.- Water-Rich Food.- Metabolic Water.- 5.3.2 Water Conservation in the Excretory and Digestive Systems.- 5.3.3 Water Conservation in the Respiratory System.- 5.3.4 Water Conservation in the Integument.- 5.3.5 Water Conservation in the Breeding Cycle.- 6 Shrikes.- 6.1 Predatory Behavior in Shrikes.- 6.1.1 Hunting Strategy.- 6.1.2 Euryphagy.- 6.1.3 Prey Selection.- 6.1.4 Territorial Behavior.- 6.2 Breeding Behavior in Shrikes.- 6.2.1 Cooperative Breeding.- 6.2.2 Effect of Rain on Breeding.- 6.2.3 Nest Building.- 6.2.4 Early Departure from Nest.- 6.3 Temperature Regulation in Shrikes.- 6.4 Water Conservation in Shrikes.- Acknowledgements.- References.- Species Index.

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