Correlated variation of colour between melanin and carotenoid pigmented plumage areas in great tits

G. Hegyi, Beáta Szigeti, Miklós Laczi, Marcel Eens, J. Török

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Questions: Are carotenoid and melanin pigmented plumage colour signals independent traits? Is the correlated variation between the two traits condition-dependent and sexually selected? Background: Previous studies suggested that carotenoid- and melanin-based traits provided different information, but did not assess their correlation or shared information content. Data description: We recorded reflectance spectra of the black crown and yellow breast plumage of male and female great tits (Parus major) after the summer moult (2 years, 192 birds) and during the breeding season (3 years, 126 birds). We used the growth rate of tail feathers as an index of body condition during moult. Search method: We ran common principal components analyses of crown and breast spectra to identify correlated variation in spectral elevation and spectral shape. We examined the consistency of the shared colour axes between autumn and spring. We used the autumn data to estimate the condition-dependence of the seasonally consistent shared colour axes. Finally, as a measure of sexual selection, we used the spring data to quantify assortative mating patterns in relation to correlated colour variation. We controlled for year- and age-related differences in all analyses. Conclusions: More than 70% of spectral shape variation in the two plumage regions was correlated. The main directions of correlated variation were similar in autumn and spring. A main axis of spectral covariation reflected body condition during moult. The birds showed significant assortative mating for the same axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-574
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Volume10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

Fingerprint

melanin
plumage
Melanins
Carotenoids
carotenoid
carotenoids
molt
Color
Birds
molting
assortative mating
color
autumn
body condition
bird
Crowns
breasts
birds
Breast
tail feather

Keywords

  • Carotenoid
  • Condition dependence
  • Good genes
  • Melanin
  • Multiple signals
  • Parus major
  • Plumage colour
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Correlated variation of colour between melanin and carotenoid pigmented plumage areas in great tits. / Hegyi, G.; Szigeti, Beáta; Laczi, Miklós; Eens, Marcel; Török, J.

In: Evolutionary Ecology Research, Vol. 10, No. 4, 05.2008, p. 559-574.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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