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Arctic waders are not capital breeders

Nature volume 413, page 794 (25 October 2001) | Download Citation



Birds prepare their eggs from recently ingested nutrients ('income' breeders) or from body stores ('capital' breeders)1. As summers are short at Arctic latitudes, Arctic migrants have been presumed to bring nutrients for egg production from their previous habitats, so that they can start breeding immediately upon arrival1,2,3. But we show here that eggs laid by 10 different wader species from 12 localities in northeast Greenland and Arctic Canada are produced from nutrients originating from tundra habitats, as inferred from carbon stable-isotope ratios in eggs, natal down, and juvenile and adult feathers.

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  1. *Centre for Limnology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, PO Box 1299, 3600 BG Maarssen, The Netherlands

    • Marcel Klaassen
  2. †Department of Animal Ecology, Ecology Building, Lund University, 22362 Lund, Sweden

    • Åke Lindström
  3. ‡Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, and Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands

    • Åke Lindström
    •  & Theunis Piersma
  4. §Department of Arctic Environment, National Environmental Research Institute, PO Box 358, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

    • Hans Meltofte


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Correspondence to Marcel Klaassen.

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