To test whether Knot Calidris canutus wintering in the tropics suffer higher rates of water loss through evaporation than do Knot wintering at temperate latitudes, we tried to develop a physically realistic model to predict evaporative heat loss from air temperature, wind and humidity. In separate experiments, involving respirometry and double-labelled water, we tried to estimate relevant parameters, In both sets of experiments, we were able to show significant effects of air temperature on evaporative water loss only, Knot which were able to eat and drink had an evaporative water loss three times that of postabsorptive Knot unable to drink when in a metabolic chamber. Water turnover rates of Knot feeding on bivalves under simulated field conditions were high and did not correlate with predicted evaporative water loss. Over 32 experimental bird-days, the average contribution of predicted evaporative water loss to daily water turnover was 20%. A comparison of predicted evaporative water loss in the north-temperate Dutch Wadden Sea and in the tropical Bane d'Arguin in Mauritania in midwinter showed that Knot wintering in the tropics may need only marginally more water for evaporative cooling than Knot wintering in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Knot foraging on intertidal invertebrates are able to maintain high water turnover rates with little need to drink seawater. [KEYWORDS: STANDARD OPERATIVE TEMPERATURE, AVIAN METABOLIC-RATE, HEAT-STRESSED BIRDS, BANC-DARGUIN, ENERGY, WIND, SALT, THERMOREGULATION, MAURITANIA, PIGEONS]
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date1995

ID: 286883