Plumage temperatures of Dippers Cinclus cinclus on the roost and in the hand: implications for handling small passerines

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) Science Article 1


The outer breast plumage temperature of Dippers Cinclus cinclus roosting beneath river bridges was measured using an infra red thermometer over the environmental temperature range -0.8 to +10.9 deg C. Plumage temperature was close to, and directly related to, the temperature of the birds’ surroundings, but significantly higher (?T = 2.87 deg C), suggesting slight heat loss across the plumage to the nvironment. Plumage temperatures were also measured in Dippers held in the hand; they were much elevated over environmental temperatures (?T = 17-18 deg C at 0 deg C), indicating substantial heat loss during handling.

John Davenport, John O’Halloran and Pat Smiddy, Ringing & Migration (2004) 22, 65-69

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