Exceptional variation in the appearance of Common Murre eggs reveals their potential as identity signals

Robert Montgomerie, Tim Birkhead, Amelia Cox & Jamie Thompson
We studied the ground colors and maculations of 161 Common Murre (Uria aalge) eggs laid by 43 females in 3 small breeding groups on the cliffs of Skomer Island, Wales, in 2016–2018. Both the colors and maculations varied much more among than within females, providing quantitative evidence for the egg traits that might facilitate the parents’ ability to identify their own eggs on the crowded breeding ledges where the density is typically ~20 eggs m–2....
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