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A Red Bird in a Brown BagThe Function and Evolution of Colorful Plumage in the House Finch$
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Geoffrey E. Hill

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148480.001.0001

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A Matter of Condition

A Matter of Condition

The Effects of Environment on Plumage Coloration

Chapter:
(p.83) Chapter 5 A Matter of Condition
Source:
A Red Bird in a Brown Bag
Author(s):

Geoffrey E. Hill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148480.003.0005

This chapter considers the effects of environmental conditions during molting on the coloration of red plumage in male House Finches. It shows that access to carotenoid pigments during molting have a large effect on feather color. Likewise, exposure to certain parasites during feather growth depresses carotenoid coloration. Good nutrition is needed for birds to reach full color expression. Environmental regulation of color expression means that critical information about male condition at the time of molting is encoded in feather coloration.

Keywords:   carotenoid pigments, parasite, feather color, environmental conditions, color expression, nutrition, molting, feather coloration

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