We studied the effect of egg volume and body size on swimming speed, endurance, and feeding rate in captive King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) ducklings in the Canadian arctic. Sprint speed, endurance, and feeding rate were positively related to egg size and body size. Large ducklings from large eggs performed better than small ducklings from small eggs. Ducklings that are more capable swimmers and have higher feeding rates may grow more quickly and be more effective at predator evasion. Thus, ducklings from large eggs may have a survival advantage over those from small eggs under conditions where predation and nutrition may constrain survival.
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Vol. 103 • No. 1