Summary: Glycated hemoglobin and albumin reflect nestling growth
and condition in American kestrels
Daniel R. Ardia
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 18453, USA
Received 17 July 2005; received in revised form 19 October 2005; accepted 20 October 2005
Available online 29 November 2005
Blood chemistry can be used to assess physiological state and condition. Levels of glycated hemoglobin (GHb), which integrates blood glucose
levels over a period of weeks, may provide a way to assess resource intake. I tested whether GHb reflects offspring quality by comparing growth
rates of nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) with GHb levels at 24 days of age. Nestlings that gained structural size faster had higher
levels of GHb than did slower growing nestlings. There was no difference in GHb levels between males and females, although females are larger.
In addition, I tested whether albumin levels, a measure of protein storage, were correlated with nestling growth and body condition (reflected in
residual body mass). Larger individuals, measured by both absolute body mass and by residual body mass, had larger levels of albumin. This was
due in part to females having higher albumin levels. Interestingly, there was no correlation between GHb and albumin, suggesting that both
measures are necessary to assess physical condition in nestling kestrels. These results suggest that blood chemistry can reflect offspring condition
measures and may provide a way to assess offspring quality that reflects conditions experienced by offspring over longer periods through
measurements at a single time point.
© 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Glycated hemoglobin; Plasma protein; Blood chemistry; Offspring quality; Growth rate; Body condition; Falco