Present address: Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
No evidence for general condition-dependence of structural plumage colour in blue tits: an experiment
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 24, Issue 5, pages 976–987, May 2011
How to Cite
PETERS, A., KURVERS, R. H. J. M., ROBERTS, M. L. and DELHEY, K. (2011), No evidence for general condition-dependence of structural plumage colour in blue tits: an experiment. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24: 976–987. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02229.x
- Issue published online: 19 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2011
- Received 17 August 2010; revised 28 December 2010; accepted 4 January 2011
- honest signalling;
- nutritional stress;
- sexual selection;
- structural colour;
Condition-dependence is a central but contentious tenet of evolutionary theories on the maintenance of ornamental traits, and this is particularly true for structural plumage colour. By providing diets of different nutritional quality to moulting male and female blue tits, we experimentally manipulated general condition within the natural range, avoiding deprivation or stressful treatments. We measured reflectance of the structural-coloured UV/blue crown, a sexually selected trait in males, and the white cheek, a nonpigmented structural colour, directly after moult and again during the following spring mating season. We employed a variety of colour indices, based on spectral shape and avian visual models but, despite significant variation in condition and coloration, found no evidence for condition-dependence of UV/blue or white plumage colour during either season. These and previously published results suggest that structural colour might be sensitive to stress, rather than reduced body condition, during moult.