Social and abiotic factors differentially affect plumage ornamentation of young and old males in an Australian songbird

Joseph F. Welklin, Samantha M. Lantz, Sarah Khalil, Nicole M. Moody, Jordan Karubian & Michael S. Webster
Both abiotic environmental conditions and variation in social environment are known to impact the acquisition of sexual signals. However, the influences of abiotic environmental and social factors are rarely compared to each other. Here we test the relative importance of these factors in determining whether and when male red-backed fairywrens (Malurus melanocephalus) moult into a known sexual signal, ornamented breeding plumage. One-year-old male red-backed fairywrens vary in whether or not they acquire ornamentation, whereas males...
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