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Brown tawny owls moult more flight feathers than grey ones

Karell, Patrik LU ; Brommer, Jon E.; Ahola, Kari and Karstinen, Teuvo (2013) In Journal of Avian Biology 44(3). p.235-244
Abstract
The mechanisms by which melanin-based colour polymorphism can evolve and be maintained in wild populations are poorly known. Theory predicts that colour morphs have differential sensitivity to environmental conditions. Recently it has been proposed that colour polymorphism covaries genetically with intrinsic and behavioural properties. Plumage moult is a costly and crucial somatic maintenance function in birds. We used a long-term data set consisting of 761 observations on 307 individuals captured between 1985 and 2010 to examine differences in partial flight feather moult between grey (pale) and brown (pheomelanic dark) colour morphs of the tawny owl. We find that the brown morph consistently moult more primary flight feathers than the... (More)
The mechanisms by which melanin-based colour polymorphism can evolve and be maintained in wild populations are poorly known. Theory predicts that colour morphs have differential sensitivity to environmental conditions. Recently it has been proposed that colour polymorphism covaries genetically with intrinsic and behavioural properties. Plumage moult is a costly and crucial somatic maintenance function in birds. We used a long-term data set consisting of 761 observations on 307 individuals captured between 1985 and 2010 to examine differences in partial flight feather moult between grey (pale) and brown (pheomelanic dark) colour morphs of the tawny owl. We find that the brown morph consistently moult more primary flight feathers than the grey morph whereas there is no clear difference between colour morphs in the moulting of secondary feathers. Contrary to expectations, the difference in the number of moulted flight feathers between the morphs was independent of environmental conditions, as quantified by the abundance of prey. We discuss the potential physiological and behavioural causes for and costs of the observed difference in maintenance functions between colour morphs. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Avian Biology
volume
44
issue
3
pages
235 - 244
publisher
Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000318811100005
  • scopus:84877693859
ISSN
0908-8857
DOI
10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05868.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9fba363f-5ee3-43df-a3a4-85476f20745a (old id 3815294)
date added to LUP
2013-06-26 09:07:00
date last changed
2019-05-14 01:41:05
@article{9fba363f-5ee3-43df-a3a4-85476f20745a,
  abstract     = {The mechanisms by which melanin-based colour polymorphism can evolve and be maintained in wild populations are poorly known. Theory predicts that colour morphs have differential sensitivity to environmental conditions. Recently it has been proposed that colour polymorphism covaries genetically with intrinsic and behavioural properties. Plumage moult is a costly and crucial somatic maintenance function in birds. We used a long-term data set consisting of 761 observations on 307 individuals captured between 1985 and 2010 to examine differences in partial flight feather moult between grey (pale) and brown (pheomelanic dark) colour morphs of the tawny owl. We find that the brown morph consistently moult more primary flight feathers than the grey morph whereas there is no clear difference between colour morphs in the moulting of secondary feathers. Contrary to expectations, the difference in the number of moulted flight feathers between the morphs was independent of environmental conditions, as quantified by the abundance of prey. We discuss the potential physiological and behavioural causes for and costs of the observed difference in maintenance functions between colour morphs.},
  author       = {Karell, Patrik and Brommer, Jon E. and Ahola, Kari and Karstinen, Teuvo},
  issn         = {0908-8857},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {235--244},
  publisher    = {Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Avian Biology},
  title        = {Brown tawny owls moult more flight feathers than grey ones},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05868.x},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2013},
}