Oct 25, 2018

Baseline corticosterone does not reflect iridescent plumage traits in female tree swallows

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Keneth SarpongPierre-Paul Bitton


The production of high quality secondary sexual traits can be constrained by trade-offs in the allocation of energy and nutrients with other metabolic activities, and is mediated by physiological processes. In birds, the factors influencing male plumage quality have been well studied; however, factors affecting female plumage quality are poorly understood. Furthermore, it remains uncertain which physiological traits mediate the relationship between body condition and ornaments. In this three-year study of after-second-year female tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), we investigated (1) the relationship between baseline corticosterone near the end of the brood-rearing period (CORTBR) and feather colour characteristics (hue, saturation, brightness) the following year, and (2) the relationship between baseline corticosterone measured during incubation (CORTI) and brood rearing (CORTBR), and feather colour in the same year. To control for reproductive effort, we included reproductive parameters as covariates in all analyses. In this first study between CORT and the plumage colour characteristics of a species bearing iridescent feathers, we did not find any relationship between CORTBR and the colour of subsequently-produced feathers...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Corticosterone Assay
Glucocorticoid inhalants for obstructive airway disease
Trees (plant)
Protein Metabolism Process
Entire Feather

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