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Growth conditions affect carotenoid-based plumage coloration of great tit nestlings

Authors
  • Hõrak, P.1
  • Vellau, Helen1
  • Ots, Indrek1
  • Møller, Anders Pape2
  • 1 Institute of Zoology and Hydrobiology, Tartu University, Vanemuise 46, 51014 Tartu, Estonia e-mail: [email protected] Tel.: +372-7-375075 Fax: +372-7-375830, EE
  • 2 Laboratorie d'Ecologie, CRNS UMR 7625, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Bât. A, 7ème étage, 7 quai St. Bernard, Case 237, 75252 Paris cedex 05, France, FR
Type
Published Article
Journal
Naturwissenschaften
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2000
Volume
87
Issue
10
Pages
460–464
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s001140050759
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Carotenoid-based integument colour in animals has been hypothesised to signal individual phenotypic quality because it reliably reflects either foraging efficiency or health status. We investigated whether carotenoid-derived yellow plumage coloration of fledgling great tits (Parus major) reflects their nestling history. Great tit fledglings reared in a poor year (1998) or in the urban habitat were less yellow than these reared in a good year (1999) or in the forest. The origin of nestlings also affected their coloration since nestlings from a city population did not improve their coloration when transferred to the forest. Brood size manipulation affected fledgling colour, but only in the rural population, where nestlings from reduced broods developed more yellow coloration than nestlings from increased and control broods. Effect of brood size manipulation on fledgling plumage colour was independent of the body mass, indicating that growth environment affects fledgling body mass and plumage colour by different pathways.

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