Yellow plumage colour of Great Tits Parus major correlates with changing temperature and precipitation

Miklós Laczi, G. Hegyi, Gergely Nagy, R. Pongrácz, J. Török

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Weather is known to affect the phenology and behaviour of birds, but weather-related changes of phenotypic traits involved in communication have received little attention. Using an 8-year dataset, we investigated links between carotenoid-based reflectance of the freshly moulted breast of Great Tits Parus major, weather during the moulting period and food availability during the preceding breeding season, and we investigated interannual changes. In both sexes, we found a change of colour expression to more saturated and darker yellow over the study period in parallel with increasingly dry and warm weather during moult. These results indicate that the expression of traits playing roles in communication may be controlled by weather and may therefore shift in response to changing climate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIbis
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • carotenoid
  • communication
  • reflectance
  • signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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