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Iron oxides in the plumage of bearded vultures. Medicine or cosmetics?

AuthorsNegro, Juan J. ; Margalida, Antoni ; Torres, María José; Grande, Juan Manuel ; Hiraldo, F. ; Heredia, Rafael
Issue Date2002
CitationAnimal Behaviour 64(3): F5-F7 (2002)
AbstractWe have hypothesized (Negro et al. 1999) that bearded vultures, Gypaetus barbatus, deliberately stain their plumage with iron oxides to signal dominance status. The conceptual frame to which we ascribe our hypothesis is the handicap principle (Zahavi & Zahavi 1997). For a signal to convey reliable information, and thus to evolve, it has to be costly (Zahavi 1975), and we proposed that the associated cost of the red colour signal for bearded vultures is that adequate ferruginous springs are a limited resource.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.2002.3098
Identifiersdoi: 10.1006/anbe.2002.3098
issn: 0003-3472
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(IREC) Artículos
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