Why some rails have white tails: the evolution of white undertail plumage and anti-predator signaling

@article{Stang2008WhySR,
  title={Why some rails have white tails: the evolution of white undertail plumage and anti-predator signaling},
  author={Alexandra Stang and Susan B. McRae},
  journal={Evolutionary Ecology},
  year={2008},
  volume={23},
  pages={943-961}
}
Conspicuous plumage patches have evolved in birds as conspecific signals for mate attraction and assessment, intersexual competition or to signal alarm. Signals may alternatively be directed at potential predators to discourage pursuit. Rails (Family Rallidae) are ground-dwelling birds, many of which inhabit wetlands, while others occur in forests and grasslands. They are renown for their secretive nature and the tendency to flick their tails when observed. This behavior is more conspicuous in… 

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