A long-term (>5 years) study of Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) provided the first record of runt eggs and two observations of prolonged incubation. During 2004, we located two clutches (n = 11 and 9 eggs)—laid by the same hen— consisting entirely of runt eggs. Mean length, width, and mass were 18.8 mm, 15.4 mm, and 2.0 g, respectively, 26% of the volume and 24% of the mass of typical bobwhite eggs. Based on our long-term data set for bobwhites (n = 3,566 eggs), runt eggs occur at a frequency of 0.56%, within the range (0.02–4.32%) reported for other avian species. The two records of prolonged incubation behavior represented 75 days (326%) and 47 days (204%) beyond the normal incubation period (23 days) of bobwhites. This prolonged incubation behavior is in excess of the time frame reported for most birds exhibiting prolonged incubation (50–100% beyond normal incubation).
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Vol. 118 • No. 1