Seasonal changes in carotenoid- and melanin-based plumage coloration in the Great Tit Parus major
Article first published online: 10 AUG 2005
Volume 147, Issue 4, pages 797–802, October 2005
How to Cite
FIGUEROLA, J. and SENAR, J. C. (2005), Seasonal changes in carotenoid- and melanin-based plumage coloration in the Great Tit Parus major. Ibis, 147: 797–802. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919x.2005.00461.x
- Issue published online: 10 AUG 2005
- Article first published online: 10 AUG 2005
- Received 22 April 2004; revision accepted 10 June 2005.
Plumage coloration plays an important role as a signal of individual quality. We studied plumage coloration in two Great Tit Parus major populations to test the hypothesis that coloration changes during the year without moult. As expected, the coloration of ‘yellow’ and ‘dark green’ areas in the breast and back changed with time but not the colour characteristics of the ‘black’ crown. This suggests that colours based on carotenoids could be more exposed to abrasion or fading than melanin-derived colours, although other factors could affect the patterns of change found. Our results show that effects of colour alteration could be important to the understanding of the potential for reliable signalling of different colours. Seasonal changes in plumage colour should be considered in future analysis of intraspecific variation in coloration.