Two methods for the analysis of cross-species data are used to investigate whether tarsal spur length or number are correlated with mating system in three phasianid subfamilies. One method, the phylogenetic regression. suggests that polygamous species have relatively longer and fewer spurs than monogamous species. hut this relationship is not found when a matched-pairwise comparison is used. These ambiguous results suggest that at the moment it is not possible to conclude either way whether spurs are under any selective pressure related to mating system, and that previously published conclusions are not supported.