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1 November 2009 Reproductive Biology of Female Saffron Finches does not Differ by the Plumage of the Mate
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Young, immature-plumaged males of species in which plumage maturation is delayed are often unable to obtain mates or pair later in the season to lower-quality females. Their clutches are smaller and the quality of their eggs is lower, leading to fewer nestlings, whose quality and fledging success are reduced. The Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) is an understudied and declining secondary-cavity nester with delayed plumage maturation; yearling males look like females. The aims of this study, of birds nesting in boxes, were to compare the morphology of immature- and mature-plumaged males of the Saffron Finch and their respective females and to compare the breeding success of females mated to each category of male. We expected that females mated to immature-plumaged males would follow the pattern described for other species, having lower reproductive investment and success. Immature- and mature-plumaged males were similar in morphology, but females paired to mature-plumaged males were bigger in bill height and weight. We found no differences, however, between females paired to each category of male in any biologically meaningful variable. Reduced competition among males for nest cavities and enough females willing to pair with immature-plumaged males might be partially responsible for these results.

© 2009 by The Cooper Ornithological Society. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website,
Andrés G. Palmerio and Viviana Massoni "Reproductive Biology of Female Saffron Finches does not Differ by the Plumage of the Mate," The Condor 111(4), 715-721, (1 November 2009).
Received: 30 September 2008; Accepted: 1 August 2009; Published: 1 November 2009

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