Document Type


Publication Date

March 2017

Publication Title

The Auk: Ornithological Advances



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biologging, egg rotation, egg turning, incubation, laysan albatross, parental care, western gull


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


In most avian species, egg-turning behavior during incubation is vital for proper embryonic development and hatching success. However, changes in turning behaviors are rarely studied across different temporal scales (e.g., day–night or across incubation phases), though the timing of incubation behaviors affects reproductive success. We used data loggers encapsulated in artificial eggs to measure turning rates and angle changes of eggs in Western Gull Larus occidentalis and Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis nests. We examined diurnal and daily cycles in egg-turning behaviors across early, middle, and late incubation phases. Our results indicate that (1) egg-turning behaviors remain similar throughout incubation, resulting in a consistent environment for developing chicks; (2) egg-turning rates and angle changes vary according to diurnal cycles and day length in each species; and (3) egg-turning rates, but not angle changes, were similar between species. Egg-turning behaviors may vary among species according to seasonality and geography, and using consistent methodologies to measure egg turning will further clarify the role of egg turning in avian life history and ecology.


Originally published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances Vol. 134, Issue: 2 by the American Ornithological Society on March 29, 2017. The article is also available online at this link. This work is licensed under Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-ND International License

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.