Carotenoid availability does not limit the capability of nestling kestrels (**Falco tinnunculus**) to cope with oxidative stress
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
The journal of experimental biology. - London
, p. 1238-1244
It is recognized that carotenoids are useful anti-oxidants in embryo and hatchling avian models. However, recent evidence suggests that the anti-oxidant role of carotenoids in nestling or adult birds may not be as important as previously thought. The aim of the present work was to investigate if supplemental carotenoids decreased the level of oxidative damage (by reactive oxygen metabolites, ROMs) and increased the serum anti-oxidant capacity (OXY) in nestling Eurasian kestrels Falco tinnunculus. Circulating carotenoids in supplemented nestlings increased about 1.5-fold compared to the control and pre-treatment levels at the end of the supplementation period. There was no effect on ROMs, OXY or the level of oxidative stress (ratio between ROMs and OXY), however, or on body mass or body condition of nestlings. ROMs and OXY decreased with age, but this pattern varied across the nests. Our results show that (i) in general, younger nestlings actually have to cope with a high free radical production, and (ii) the ability of wild nestling kestrels to cope with oxidative stress is not affected by carotenoid availability.