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Data from: Sexually selected dichromatism in the hihi Notiomystis cincta: multiple colours for multiple receivers

Citation

Walker, Leila K.; Ewen, John G.; Brekke, Patricia; Kilner, Rebecca M. (2014), Data from: Sexually selected dichromatism in the hihi Notiomystis cincta: multiple colours for multiple receivers, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.58q4d

Abstract

Why do some bird species show dramatic sexual dichromatism in their plumage? Sexual selection is the most common answer to this question. However, other competing explanations mean it is unwise to assume that all sexual dichromatism has evolved by this mechanism. Even if sexual selection is involved, further work is necessary to determine whether dichromatism results from competition amongst rival males, or by female choice for attractive traits, or both. Here we test whether sexually dichromatic hihi (Notiomystis cincta) plumage is currently under sexual selection, with detailed behavioural and genetic analyses of a free-living island population. Bateman gradients measured for males and females reveal the potential for sexual selection, whilst selection gradients, relating reproductive success to specific colourful traits, show there is stabilizing selection on white ear tuft length in males. By correlating colourful male plumage with different components of reproductive success, we show that properties of yellow plumage are most likely a product of male-male competition, whilst properties of the black and white plumage are an outcome of both male-male competition and female choice. Male plumage therefore potentially signals to multiple receivers (rival males and potential mates) and this may explain the multi-coloured appearance of one of the most strikingly dichromatic species in New Zealand.

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