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Social organisation and breeding biology of the White-shouldered Fairywren (Malurus alboscapulatus)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology. Tulane Univ, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA.
Tulane Univ, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA;Washington State Univ, Ctr Reprod Biol, Sch Biol Sci, Pullman, WA 99164 USA.
Unity Coll, Sch Biodivers Conservat, Unity, ME USA.
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2019 (English)In: Emu (Print), ISSN 0158-4197, E-ISSN 1448-5540, Vol. 119, no 3, p. 274-285Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The White-shouldered Fairywren (Malurus alboscapulatus) is a tropical passerine bird distributed across much of New Guinea. White-shouldered Fairywrens are among few species of fairywren with exclusively tropical distributions and differ from better studied congeners in Australia because subspecies vary by female, but not male, coloration and morphology. As with many bird species in New Guinea, basic demographic, social, morphological, and breeding data are limited. From 2011 to 2018 we documented the basic biology of two subspecies representing extremes of the female ornamentation spectrum. Both subspecies form groups having an even operational sex ratio and appear to breed year-round. Extra-pair paternity occurs in the subspecies with female ornamentation; comparable data are lacking for the subspecies having unornamented females, but the greater scaled cloacal protuberance volume of males suggests similar or higher extra-pair paternity rates. Females of the ornamented subspecies are generally larger than those lacking ornamentation, but exhibit reduced tail lengths, which is thought to serve as a signal of social dominance in other fairywrens. After first achieving adult-like plumage, males and ornamented females retain ornamented plumage year-round; however, only males in the subspecies with unornamented females appear to exhibit delayed plumage maturation. Our discussion highlights similarities and differences between White-shouldered Fairywren life histories and those of better studied Australian Malurus species; we focus on tropical vs. temperate environments and variable female ornamentation, and we identify priorities for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS AUSTRALASIA , 2019. Vol. 119, no 3, p. 274-285
Keywords [en]
Fairywren, female ornamentation, life history, tropical birds, Maluridae, New Guinea, sexual dimorphism
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Zoology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391020DOI: 10.1080/01584197.2019.1595663ISI: 000473533600009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391020DiVA, id: diva2:1344279
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-08-20Bibliographically approved

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