Title

Signals of status in wintering white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Animal Behaviour

Publication Date

2-1984

Volume

32

Issue

1

First Page

86

Last Page

93

Publisher

Elsevier Ltd

Abstract

The possibility of plumage status signalling within the social systems of wintering birds has been a controversial issue. Our results are the first to demonstrate conclusively the reality of such signalling. Data from eight groups of captive white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii), each with 8 to 11 different individuals, show that immature and adult females with crowns painted to resemble more brightly coloured, dominant adult males consistently win encounters with control birds of their own age and sex. These experiments demonstrate that signals that correlate with age (adult versus immature) and sex (adult male versus adult female) are used by the birds as reliable indicators of relative dominance position. Our demonstration of status signalling draws attention to the need to explain how such a system can be evolutionarily stable and we discuss some suitable models.

DOI

10.1016/S0003-3472(84)80327-9

Print ISSN

00033472

E-ISSN

10958282

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1984 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Fugle, G. N., Rothstein, S. I., Osenberg, C. W., & McGinley, M. A. (1984). Signals of status in wintering white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii. Animal Behaviour, 32(1), 86-93. doi: 10.1016/S0003-3472(84)80327-9