Sex-condition interaction affects Greater Flamingo colouration

Why are female flamingos more colourful than males?
In species that inhabit unpredictable environments, the use of cosmetic colouration may signal dynamic changes in the physiological condition of individuals over short-term periods. In Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus), dynamic colouration has been linked to the ability to provide parental care. But, how does the interaction of sex and habitat quality affect the body condition and plumage colouration of flamingos throughout the year?

Visual signals are used by animals to communicate to rivals and potential partners about their ability to obtain resources and, therefore, their physiological condition. Plumage colour depends on the combination of both pigments and light refraction due to the structure of feathers. Two main groups of pigments confer non-structural colouration to the plumage of birds: melanins and carotenoids. Melanins provide strengthening to the feathers, photoprotection and thermoregulation. Carotenoid pigments produce bright yellow, orange and red colouration. Unlike melanin, carotenoids cannot be synthesised by animals and must be obtained exclusively from the diet. Because of this, carotenoid-based pigmentation would reflect the nutritional condition of individuals.... SEE COMPLETE ON THE BOU BLOGhttps://bou.org.uk/blog-rendon-greater-flamingos/
 

REFECENCE
Sex-condition interaction affects Greater Flamingo colouration. Amat, J. A., Garrido, A., Rendón-Martos, M., Portavia, F., & Rendón, M. A. 2022 Ardeola: 219-229.  doi: 0.13157/arla.69.2.2022.ra3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Miguel Rendón obtained a PhD in Biology from the University of Málaga (Spain), and currently works as a Specialized Technician at the Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-Spanish Research Council). He has worked on the study of waterbird populations, mainly monitoring the Greater Flamingo breeding colony at Fuente de Piedra Lake (southern Spain) and developing statistical models based on behavioural, ecological, and demographic data for this species. He also has been working and collaborating on different projects for the Department of Wetland Ecology at the EBD.
 

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