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Sounds Produced By Hatching Japanese Quail (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica) as Potential Aids To Synchronous Hatching

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Tape recordings were made of sounds produced by hatching Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) to study their possible information content relative to progress toward emergence. Single unpipped, pipped, and strongly-pipped (i.e., shell broken for 1/4 or more of the way around its circumference) eggs differ in the rate at which several behaviors are performed. Clicking was performed by all three groups, with pipped eggs giving the most, and unpipped eggs the least. All groups gave body movements, which increased in rate as emergence neared. The rate at which total vocalizations were uttered also increased as the later stages of development were reached. Unpipped eggs have only unclassified calls. Pipped eggs also gave unclassified calls, but strongly-pipped eggs did not. Strongly-pipped eggs uttered shrill calls, hatching calls, and twitters at a faster rate than pipped eggs. Rate of performance apparently does not change during brief (1 min) physical contact with other eggs or exposure to hatched chicks. Therefore, the rate at which these behaviors are produced is tentatively proposed as a reliably fixed measure of hatching progress in incubator-hatched eggs. The possible importance of this information to the achievement of synchronous emergence is discussed, as well as the need for data on parental behavior in this and other species of synchronous hatchers.

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Affiliations: 1: Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.


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