Status badge-signalling in male but not in female Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer montanus

Mónus, Ferenc and Liker, András and Pénzes, Zsolt and Barta, Zoltán (2017) Status badge-signalling in male but not in female Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer montanus. IBIS, 159 (1). pp. 180-192. ISSN 0019-1019


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Male ornaments, such as plumage coloration, frequently serve as signals. The signalling function of similar ornaments in females has, however, received much less attention despite the fact that conspicuousness of their ornaments is often comparable to those of males. In this study we tested the signalling function of a plumage trait present in both sexes in the Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus. The black throat patch has been repeatedly found to have a signal function in the closely related House Sparrow Passer domesticus, where only males bear the ornamental trait. However, the function of the black throat patch in the females of Passer species that have sexually monomorphic ornament expression has never, to our knowledge, been considered. We investigated the outcomes of aggressive encounters in foraging flocks of free-living Tree Sparrows, and assessed whether throat patch size and measurements of body size predicted fighting success in these flocks. We found that male throat patch size predicted fighting success against both male and female opponents. However, female throat patch size did not correlate with fighting success against either sex. Among the morphological traits studied, wing length was the best predictor of fighting success in females. Our findings suggest a status signalling function of throat patch size in males but not in females, although further experimental studies are necessary to corroborate these correlative results. © 2016 British Ornithologists’ Union

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Passer montanus; Passer domesticus; Passer; monomorphic ornaments; melanin; feeding competition; Dominance; badge-signalling
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH301 Biology / biológia
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 15:15
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 15:15

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