Because Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) eat a diet comprised primarily of fish they are a useful indicator species for aquatic contaminants such as mercury. Monitoring efforts generally compare nesting success or tissue contaminant concentrations from contaminated sites with reference sites. In contrast, this study examined subtler potential effects of mercury accumulation by quantifying plumage coloration (structural and melanin based) of nesting adult Belted Kingfishers and relating it to individual mercury concentrations. Mercury exposure was associated with increased brightness of plumage color consistent with the hypothesis that mercury slows the production of melanin. Clear sex differences in the chroma and hue of blue body feathers identified during this study suggest that Belted Kingfishers possesses cryptic dimorphism beyond the rufous “belt,” and thus mercury-induced alterations in blue plumage could reduce fitness.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 37 • No. 2