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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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Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds

Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds

Plumage Coloration, Hormones, and Dominance

Chapter:
(p.169) Chapter 8 Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds
Source:
A Red Bird in a Brown Bag
Author(s):

Geoffrey E. Hill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148480.003.0008

This chapter explores the relationship between male plumage color and social status. Experiments show that red feather coloration does not function as a signal of status in either the breeding or non-breeding season. Drabber males are actually socially dominant to brighter red males. Testosterone implants increase male dominance but reduce male feather coloration, perhaps explaining why drabber males are socially dominant.

Keywords:   dominance, social status, status signal, testosterone, molting, signal of status

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