The black-throated tit, Aegithalos concinnus, and long-tailed tit, A. caudatus, are two widely-distributed species of Aegithalidae. They are thought to be monomorphic and thus difficult to differentiate between sexes in the field. We determined the sex of 296 black-throated tits and 129 long-tailed tits using DNA analysis, evaluated their sexual size dimorphism, and developed discriminant models to identify sex based on morphometries, including bill length, bill depth, bill-head length, maximum tarsus length, tarsus width, wing length, tail length, total body length, and body mass. Both species were sexually dimorphic in size, with males having larger measurements than females, except for bill length in black-throated tits, and both bill length and body mass in long-tailed tits. Moreover, both species showed similar sexual size dimorphism (SSD) among the morphological features, with tail length having the highest SSD value. The multivariate discriminant models for sex identification had an accuracy of 82% for both species, which was slightly higher than the best univariate discriminatory model for each species. Because of the complicated nature of the multivariate model, we recommend univariate models for sex identification using D = 0.491 × tail length - 24.498 (accuracy 80%) for black-throated tits and D = 0.807 × wing length - 45.934 (accuracy 78%) for long-tailed tits. Females in both species showed generally higher morphological variation than did males, resulting in lower accuracies in all discriminate functions regardless of univariate or multivariate approach. This could be the result of a sex-biased selective pressure in which males have higher selective pressures for these morphological features.
sexual size dimorphism