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Are plumage colour and song redundant ornaments in great tits (Parus major)? It depends on the colour

AuthorsFerrer, Esperanza S.; Uribe, Francesc; Sanz, Juan José CSIC ORCID ; Senar, Joan Carles
Parus major
Plumage colour
Tie size
Issue Date13-May-2021
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationBiological Journal of the Linnean Society 133(4): 1077-1083 (2021)
AbstractAccording to current theory, the development of different conspicuous ornaments may provide multiple, redundant or unreliable information. However, multiple visual and acoustic traits have not often been tested at the same time. In this study, we analyse whether black tie size, yellow breast colour indexes (chroma and hue) and song parameters (repertoire size, strophe length, maximum and minimum frequency) are inter-correlated in male great tits (Parus major). We found that males with larger black ties sang greater repertoires and had higher song frequencies, providing redundant information. However, song parameters did not correlate with hue and chroma of the yellow breast coloration, supporting the idea that they convey different units of information. Results therefore stress that since different plumaged patches can transmit very different units of information, bird song will correlate to plumage coloration traits depending on the patch and the colour considered, an aspect rarely taken into account in previous studies relating song to plumage colour traits.
Publisher version (URL)https://academic.oup.com/biolinnean/article/133/4/1077/6274906
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