Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds

Geoffrey E. Hill

in A Red Bird in a Brown Bag

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195148480
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893683 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ornithology Series

Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds

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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

Chapter.  10142 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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