The bullfinch Loxigilla barbadensis is an endemic passerine on the Caribbean island of Barbados that has only recently been taxonomically split from the Lesser Antillean bullfinch L. noctis. The trait that most clearly distinguishes L. barbadensis from L. noctis is the absence in the male of sexually dimorphic coloration of the body and throat feathers, with L. barbadensis males and females sharing the same dull brown plumage. Here we report, in 64 individuals netted throughout the island, the results of a discriminant analysis on two (wing length and tail length) to four morphological traits showing very high (97%) concordance with sexing via PCR using blood samples. Females also show a paler lower mandible, a trait that yields an 80% concordance with PCR sexing. We found one L. barbadensis male that had a noctis-like reddish throat patch, supporting the idea that sexual dichromatism is the ancestral condition and that male Barbados bullfinches have evolved cryptic coloration that now makes the species monochromatic.
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Vol. 31 • No. 10