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Snowy Egret

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Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:07 am

Snowy egrets are noted for their beautiful, elegant appearance and flight, and they are seldom thought of as brutal animals. However, they are actually among the most prone to fratricide.

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:09 am

Usually, female snowy egrets lay three eggs. However, there is a difference between the two first eggs and the third one..

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:11 am

The first egg usually gets a high dose of hormones during development inside the mother’s body, and the same happens with the second egg.

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:13 am

But the third egg only gets half the dose of hormones, which leads to less aggressive behavior. When food is scarce, the two older egret chicks often harass their younger sibling..

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:15 am

Third one being more passive, usually can’t defend itself and is eventually killed, either stabbed by the sharp bills of its siblings, or thrown out of the nest. This means more food for the murderous chicks.

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:16 am

It may seem strange that Snowy Egrets lay three eggs if only two chicks are to survive, but there is an explanation for this..

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Re: Snowy Egret

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:19 am

If something happened to the two first eggs, or to the first born chicks during the first days, the third chick would serve as a replacement. As cruel as it may sound, the third Snowy Egret chick is just a spare.



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