Temperature - low ambient

Summary Information

Classification Physical / Climate, Atmosphere, Radiation & Electricity / Type:

(This physical factors section is currently used in Wildpro predominantly to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. It does not contain detailed information on the physical factor itself.)

Synonyms --
  • Homoeothermic animals exposed to low ambient temperature must increase metabolism to maintain body temperature. The amount of heat production required depends on the external temperature, the effectiveness of the animals insulation (e.g. subcutaneous fat, hair coat and piloerection, feathers and fluffing up). Increased heat production to maintain body temperature involves a cost in terms of energy consumption.
  • In general, adult waterfowl with intact insulation from plumage and an adequate energy supply (e.g. stored fat, available food) are able to maintain their body temperature despite low ambient temperatures.
  • Downy waterfowl are less able to maintain body temperature on exposure to low ambient temperature, and there are considerable species differences in this ability.
  • Anything which interferes with the insulation of the bird (e.g. oil, detergents, wet-feather) considerably compromises the ability of individual waterfowl to maintain body temperature on exposure to either low ambient temperature or cold water.
  • Maintenance of body temperature in low ambient temperature is dependant on increased metabolism and therefore an energy supply. If food is unavailable and stored reserves are used up, death may result from a combination of starvation and hypothermia.
  • Low ambient temperature, in particular a sudden drop in temperature, is associated with both rapid icing of fresh water bodies and salt precipitation in saline water bodies.
Directly associated diseases entered into Wildpro

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