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Sexual displays often involve several different ornamental traits. Yet most indicator models of sexual selection based on a single receiver (usually a choosy female) find that multiple handicap signals should be unstable. Here we study reasons for this contradiction, analyzing signal function, signal content, and trade-offs between signals in the polygynous(More)
Oxidative stress has been suggested to create a link between 'good genes' and carotenoid coloration via an allocation conflict between external pigmentation and internal antioxidant functions. However, although carotenoid displays have been extensively investigated, there are no experimental tests of the antioxidant efficiency of carotenoids in vivo. We(More)
Agonistic carotenoid signalling in male red-collared widowbirds: aggression related to the colour signal of both the territory owner and model intruder Carotenoid colour displays are widely assumed to be honest indicators of individual health or quality, primarily in mate attraction. Here we show that sexually dimorphic carotenoid ornamentation functions as(More)
In breeding plumage, the African male red-shouldered widowbirds (Euplectes axillaris) are black except for red carotenoid-based epaulets ('shoulder patches'), similar to the well-studied American red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). To experimentally test the signal function of the red epaulets in male red-shouldered widowbirds, we manipulated(More)
Many birds display carotenoid-based ornaments, which are typically considered to be honest indicators of individual health and condition. Experimental work on male red-shouldered widowbirds, Euplectes axillaris, has demonstrated a function of the carotenoid-based epaulettes in male contests and territory acquisition. Using two experiments, we investigated(More)
1. Ornamental carotenoid coloration is commonly based on several different pigments with different nutritional and metabolic constraints. The identification and quantifica-tion of carotenoid pigments is therefore crucial to the understanding of signal content and signal evolution. 2. In male widowbirds (Euplectes spp.), the striking yellow and red(More)
Sexual-selection theory assumes that there are costs associated with ornamental plumage coloration. While pigment-based ornaments have repeatedly been shown to be condition dependent, this has been more difficult to demonstrate for structural colours. We present evidence for condition dependence of both types of plumage colour in nestling blue tits (Parus(More)
Considering the importance of dietary constraints for the widely held view of carotenoid pigmentation as an honest quality indicator, there is surprisingly little data on carotenoid availability in different natural diets or along environmental gradients. Here we investigate the carotenoid availability in the main diet of breeding great tits Parus major ,(More)
The differential allocation hypothesis predicts that parents should adjust their current investment in relation to perceived mate attractiveness if this affects offspring fitness. It should be selectively advantageous to risk more of their future reproductive success by investing heavily in current offspring of high reproductive value but to decrease(More)
In socially monogamous species, extra-pair paternity can increase the variance in reproductive success and thereby the potential for sexual selection on male ornaments. We studied whether male secondary sexual ornaments are selected through within- and/or extra-pair reproductive success in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus). Male blue tits display a bright blue(More)