Experts discuss female reproductive failure in birds.
Hatching failure occurs in all birds, but its incidence varies across species, populations and individuals. Small, threatened populations are particularly vulnerable, with rates of hatching failure sometimes exceeding 70%. Even large populations of common species experience an average failure rate of 10%, and this problem persists in domestic poultry despite optimised conditions and strong selection for hatching success. Egg hatchability can therefore be considered a weak link in the chain of events that determines avian reproductive success. Eggs fail for a number of reasons. In this event we will explore the different aspects that lead to female reproductive failure from gamete malfunction to developmental environment, and ask why female fertility is so poorly understood not only in birds, but across most species?
To read a newly published open access review of hatching failure in birds and Animal Conservation, click here.
For those wanting to identify the fertility status of unhatched bird eggs, a practical resources guide featuring protocols and video demonstrations can be found here:
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ZSL Wild Science Podcast
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