A Review and Prospectus
Part of the Current Ornithology book series (CUOR, volume 12)


Several years ago, I introduced the width of daily growth bars on feathers as a novel index of nutritional condition (Grubb, 1989). Originally applied to birds, termed ptilochronology, the concept of monitoring nutritional status by measuring induced anabolism has since been extended to other taxonomic groups (Grubb, 1994). Since 1989, concerns about the validity of ptilochronology have been raised and investigated, and the method has been applied to a wide variety of conceptual issues concerning avian behavior and ecology. In this chapter, I review these developments, point out uncertainties about the method that need to be addressed, and suggest additional subjects in ornithology that could benefit from application of the method.


Social Dominance Territory Size Alpha Male Feather Growth Loggerhead Shrike 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioral Ecology Group, Department of ZoologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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