In some bird species, the survival of chicks hatching later in the season is lower than those hatched earlier due to increased risk of predation and a seasonal decline in feeding conditions. To reduce these risks, it might be advantageous for late-hatched chicks to grow faster and hence fledge at younger age. In this experimental study, the growth rates of early- and late-hatched Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata chicks were compared under average and poor food supplies in captivity. Controlling for potentially confounding effects of chick mass at 10days old, chick age and nest-chamber temperature, late-hatched chicks had higher wing growth rate than early-hatched chicks before attaining the minimum wing length required for fledgling under both average and poor food supplies. After attaining the minimum wing length, however, late-hatched chicks had a lower fledging mass, indicating a potential cost that could diminish the early advantage of fast wing growth.
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