Several recent studies have found instances of cryptic sexual dichromatism within avian taxa. Although this dichromatism has been found in plumage produced through a variety of proximate mechanisms, little is known about how dichromatism varies across these types of plumage within a single species. We used a reflectance spectrometer to measure colour within the Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus, a species which displays multiple types of pigment and structural colours. We found significant differences in spectral measurements corresponding to hue, chroma, and brightness between male and female carotenoid, melanin, structural white, grey and structural blue plumage. The only plumage that did not appear to show sexual dichromatism was the olive plumage of the back. These findings suggest that the mechanism(s) producing cryptic dichromatism in the Green-backed Tit are non-specific and act across multiple types of plumage, rather than within a single type, such as carotenoid-based or structurally produced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology