US Geological Survey
Date of this Version
Published in Pacific Science (2005), 59(4):499–508.
We studied the relationship between microclimate and nest-site selection in the Pohnpei Micronesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus reichenbachii ) which excavates nest cavities from the mudlike nest structures of arboreal termites (Nasutitermes sp.) or termitaria. Mean daily high temperatures at termitaria were cooler and daily low temperatures were warmer than at random sites in the forest. Results also indicate that termitaria provided insulation from temperature extremes, and that temperatures inside termitaria were within the thermoneutral zone of Micronesian Kingfishers more often than those outside. No differences were identified in temperatures at sites where nest termitaria and nonnest termitaria occurred or among the insulation properties of used and unused termitaria. These results suggest that although termitaria provide insulation from thermal extremes and a metabolically less stressful microclimate, kingfishers did not select from among available termitaria based on their thermal properties. Our findings are relevant to conservation efforts for the critically endangered Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (T. c. cinnamominus) which is extinct in the wild and exists only as a captive population. Captive breeding facilities should provide aviaries with daily ambient temperatures ranging from 22.06 °C to 28.05 °C to reduce microclimate-associated metabolic stress and to replicate microclimates used by wild Micronesian Kingfishers.