SEXUAL SELECTION IN BIRDS: INFLUENCE OF AMBIENT LIGHT AND CONSPICUITY ON THE REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS OF MALES

Mariana Abrahão, Maria Alice Santos Alves

Abstract


Sexual selection postulates that the evolution of certain conspicuous physical traits in animals may lead to a greater success in obtaining mates. The majority of bird species are under strong sexual selection pressure which promotes the generation of flashy, ornamented plumage. In addition, males may also use ambient light to become more conspicuous to females as a way of increasing their chances of being selected. We reviewed sexual selection regarding birds and discussed how ambient light and background colors could affect the reproductive success of males. We recorded 17 bird species belonging to 10 families that display in periods of the day that increase their conspicuity to conspecifics, or actively modify the background to enhance plumage contrast during the display. We recommend further investigation, particularly with a behavioral and phylogenetic approach, on the influence of abiotic factors, such as ambient light, on bird courtship displays and its consequent reproductive success, in order to find patterns.


Keywords


background contrast; courtship displays; lek systems; visual signals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4257/oeco.2017.2104.01

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