Birds of Indian Subcontinent

An Experimental Study of the Importance of Plumage Coloration in Breeding Males of the White-Crowned Sparrow

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1993
Authors:Götmark, F
Journal:Ornis Scandinavica
Date Published:1993
ISBN Number:00305693
Keywords:Corvidae, Corvus, Corvus capensis, Corvus corone, Emberizidae, Zonotrichia, Zonotrichia leucophrys
Abstract:To study the influence of plumage coloration on male-male interactions and female choice of males, I dyed territorial males of the White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys pugetensis. I compared (1) control males with normal black-and-white crown, (2) males with (dyed) black crown, showing less contrast than normal males, and (3) males with normal crown and (dyed) black breast, being more conspicuous than males of group (1) and (2). Before manipulation, morphological and behavioural traits were similar among male groups. Males were caught on newly established territories, manipulated in captivity, and released when their territories had been occupied by replacement males. Coloration did not influence the degree to which males regained their territories, suggesting that the black colour was unimportant in contests between males. Male pairing rate after release did not differ significantly among male groups, and females did not prefer the most conspicuous males.
Short Title:Ornis Scandinavica
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith