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Type: Journal article
Title: Contemporary divergence of island bird plumage
Author: Avery, J.
Cassey, P.
Lockwood, J.
Citation: Journal of Avian Biology, 2014; 45(3):291-295
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0908-8857
Statement of
Julian D. Avery, Phillip Cassey and Julie L. Lockwood
Abstract: Although the diversity in avian plumage coloration is striking, there is little known about the rate with which colour diverges. Eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis bermudensis on the island of Bermuda are considered endemic based upon differences in coloration from the mainland, but recent molecular evidence suggests they established on the island only 400 yr ago. We explored sexual dichromatism and colour divergence in this isolated population, thus providing one of the few quantitative accounts of contemporary plumage change. Contrary to expectations that sexual dichromatism would decrease in this sedentary island population, we found that males and females have increased plumage ornamentation in a coordinated fashion that acts to preserve sexual dichromatism, while plumage colour is also altered to become brighter and bluer. These differences were in place at least 100 yr ago based upon a separate analysis of museum specimens. Our results provide insight into the divergence of plumage colour in an incipient species, and we show the remarkable extent to which plumage colour can change over contemporary time frames.
Description: Article first published online: 18 MAR 2014
Rights: © 2014 The Authors
DOI: 10.1111/jav.00300
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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