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Relationship between tail color pattern and reproductive success, mate acquisition and nest predation in Rufous Bush Chats

AuthorsÁlvarez, Fernando
Issue Date2000
PublisherCooper Ornithological Society
CitationCondor 102: 708- 712 (2000)
AbstractRufous Bush Chats (Cercotrichas galactotes) show a conspicuous tail color pattern consisting of terminal white and subterminal black patches which are shown in tail display during nest defense, aggression, and courtship. Multiple linear regression of visual tail features of males showed that in the two years of study, birds with higher bilateral symmetry in the black patches attained higher seasonal reproductive success, mated earlier in the season, and their nests were less likely to be depredated. In one year, birds with greater white terminal patches also attained higher reproductive success and their nests were less likely to be depredated, and in the other year birds with longer tails paired earlier. I suggest that these tail features have an effect on reproductive success by facilitating early pairing and/or by diminishing nest predation.
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