A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The Function and Evolution of by Geoffrey E. Hill

By Geoffrey E. Hill

This can be an account of experiences of the functionality and evolution of colourful plumage in the home Finch. it's also an attractive research at the evolution of sexual choice in birds and a full of life portrait of the demanding situations and constraints of experimental layout dealing with any box investigator operating with animal habit. half I units the level for contemporary reports of the functionality of plumage colour with a evaluation of the 19th and starting of the 20th centuries. half II specializes in the proximate keep an eye on and current functionality of plumage colour. half III takes a extra explicitly evolutionary method of the research of plumage shade utilizing biogeography and phylogeny to check hypotheses for why particular sorts of plumage colour demonstrate have developed. It concludes with an account of comparative stories which have been carried out in the home Finch and different cardueline finches and the perception those reports have supplied at the evolution of carotenoid-based decorative shade.

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Extra info for A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The Function and Evolution of Colorful Plumage in the House Finch (Oxford Ornithology Series)

Sample text

A pair of finches may begin prospecting weeks before the female actually starts to build its first nest, and the male or the female of a pair commonly places a single twig at sites that they have visited. I did not appreciate the extent of this twig-placement behavior until we started monitoring nest boxes on the Auburn University campus. 9. Dates on which House Finches initiated nests in Ann Arbor, Michigan (19881989) and Auburn, Alabama (1997-1999). Julian date (January 1 = day 1) and corresponding calendar month is shown.

The sequence of molts and plumages of an individual House Finch. Once an individual completes its first prebasic molt in the late summer of its hatch year, it then undergoes one complete molt of its feathers each year in the late summer. Andrew Stoehr, and I once "created" a male with virtually no carotenoid pigmentation in its plumage. My students nicknamed this bird the "Gray Ghost" because every patch of feathers that should have been colored with carotenoid pigments was instead a pale grayish white.

The male and female of the most stable pair of House Finches that I observed were already banded (by Robert Payne) when I started my study in Michigan. Based on banding records, this male and female had been caught in a trap together in the spring of 1987, suggesting that they were paired in that year, although no one was 32 P R E L U D E collecting pairing data at the time. I recorded them as a stable pair in 1988 through 1991—four certain and five likely breeding seasons. Two other pairs stayed together for four years, and several other pairs at both Ann Arbor and Auburn remained together for three years.

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