author={Patrick S. Fitze and Mathias K{\"o}lliker and Heinz Richner},
  booktitle={Evolution; international journal of organic evolution},
Abstract Carotenoids cannot be synthesized by birds and thus have to be ingested with food, suggesting that carotenoid-based plumage coloration is environmentally determined. However signaling functions ascribed to plumage imply that plumage coloration is the outcome of an evolutionary process based on genetic variation. By means of a cross-fostering design we show significant effects of both a common rearing environment and the brood from which a nestling originally came from (common origin… 

Parental effects on carotenoid-based plumage coloration in nestling great tits, Parus major

Both prenatal maternal effects and postnatal paternal effects influence the carotenoid-based plumage coloration of nestling great tits, and future studies will reveal if parental effects have long-term consequences for plumage development and associated fitness components.

Habitat structure and prey composition generate contrasting effects on carotenoid-based coloration of great tit Parus major nestlings

The view that habitat structure and prey composition may produce divergent effects on feather pigmentation, and that prey proportions and variables related to parental investment should be assessed when considering carotenoid-based coloration of chicks is supported.

Low Cross-Sex Genetic Correlation in Carotenoid-Based Plumage Traits in the Blue Tit Nestlings (Cyanistes caeruleus)

The results do not support the prediction of generally high rmf and suggest that intersexual constraints on the evolution of colouration traits may be weaker than expected.

No evidence for survival selection on carotenoid‐based nestling coloration in great tits (Parus major)

The results indicate that the carotenoid‐based coloration of nestling great tits is currently not under natural selection and it suggests that past selection pressures or selection acting on correlated traits may have led to its evolution.

Cross-fostering experiments to compare carotenoid- and melanin-based plumage traits and long-term parental effects in post-moulted great tits

The results suggest that melanin-based traits are mainly influenced by genetic factors, while carotenoid-based colouration is environmentally dependent, supporting the view that different factors determine ornament expression of the two traits.

Environmental Pollution Affects the Plumage Color of Great Tit Nestlings through Carotenoid Availability

The hypothesis that the primary reason for pollution-related variation in plumage color is carotenoid deficiency in the diet is supported.

Cross‐fostering reveals that among‐brood differences in ornamental mouth coloration mostly reflect rearing conditions in nestling house sparrows

Among-brood variation in mouth coloration in nestling house sparrows may primarily contain information about the environment in which offspring are reared, and at the individual level, ontogenetic changes in the carotenoid-richness and brightness of flanges positively reflected mass gain (a proxy for food intake).

Origin-related differences in plumage coloration within an island population of great tits (Parus major)

It is found that yearling, but not older, birds born in the eastern part of the island had feathers that were of a less bright yellow and UV than birds born elsewhere, irrespec...

Plumage colour in nestling blue tits: sexual dichromatism, condition dependence and genetic effects

It is concluded that the expression of both carotenoid–based and structural coloration seems to be condition dependent in blue tit nestlings, and that there are additional genetic effects on the hue of the UV/blue tail feathers.

Quantitative Genetics of a Carotenoid-Based Color: Heritability and Persistent Natal Environmental Effects in the Great Tit

The analysis of a carotenoid-based color patch in the ventral plumage of mature great tits suggests that color patches may convey multiple aspects of individual state and demonstrates the context dependence of components of color variation.



Growth conditions affect carotenoid-based plumage coloration of great tit nestlings

Effect of brood size manipulation on fledgling plumage colour was independent of the body mass, indicating that growth environment affects fledgling body mass and plumages colour by different pathways.

Proximate mechanisms of variation in the carotenoid‐based plumage coloration of nestling great tits (Parus major L.)

Three of the five proposed mechanisms can generate individual variation in the expression of carotenoid‐based plumage coloration in the wild and thus could maintain honesty in a trait potentially used for signalling of individual quality.

Brighter yellow blue tits make better parents

Cross–fostering experiments in blue tits are used to show that chick development is related to yellowness of the foster father, but not to that of the genetic parents, and to measure the separate contribution of genetic and environmental factors to chick development, and hence parental investment.

Carotenoid access and intraspecific variation in plumage pigmentation in male American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) and Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The results suggest that carotenoid-based plumage variation in male goldfinches and cardinals is less sensitive to pigment availability in the diet than colour variation observed in other studied taxa.

Plumage coloration is a sexually selected indicator of male quality

Results of field studies indicate that females prefer to mate with colourful males and that plumage brightness correlates with a male's capactity for parental care and perhaps its genotypic quality.

Energetic constraints on expression of carotenoid-based plumage coloration

Observations provide the best evidence to date of an energetic cost of carotenoid utilization in the generation of colorful plumage.

Plumage colour signals nutritional condition in the house finch

  • G. HillR. Montgomerie
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1994
Observations provide support for the hypothesis that carotenoid-based plumage coloration is an indicator of nutritional condition during moult, which may arise from differences among individuals in either their foraging ability or their health.

Condition–dependent variation in the blue–ultraviolet coloration of a structurally based plumage ornament

  • A. KeyserG. Hill
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1999
This work investigated a structurally based plumage ornament in a wild population of blue grosbeaks (Guiraca caerulea), a sexually dimorphic passerine, and reports plumage variation that extends into the ultraviolet region of the spectrum.

Proximate basis of variation in carotenoid pigmentation in male house finches

Captive males converged on a similar appearance after completing prebasic molt on a standardized diet, with significantly less variance in coloration than is found among wild males, and there was a significant positive correlation between patch size and plumage brightness.