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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Subspecies complexes may provide valuable insights into the early stages of the speciation process. The bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) consists of many morphologically distinct subspecies that differ most strikingly in the ornamental colour pattern of the male throat. We investigated the genetic and phenotypic differentiation in this subspecies complex,(More)
Under chronic stress, carotenoid-based colouration has often been shown to fade. However, the ecological and physiological mechanisms that govern colouration still remain largely unknown. Colour changes may be directly induced by the stressor (for example through reduced carotenoid intake) or due to the activation of the physiological stress response (PSR,(More)
Male breeding plumages of African widowbirds and bishops (Euplectes spp.) show striking variation in carotenoid-based plumage coloration, with saturated yellow or orange-red patches of different size. Yet, from observations and experiments, agonistic signaling appears to have been a generalized sexual selection pressure for redness in the genus. Recent(More)