Targets of sexual selection: song and plumage of wood warblers

D. Shutler, P. J. Weatherhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Examined patterns of song complexity and plumage dimorphism in 56 species of wood warblers (Parulinae). Overall, males of more dimorphic species sang shorter songs more often, but did not have more complex songs. However, when monomorphic species were excluded from the analysis, the total time spent singing and repertoire size increased with plumage dimorphism. Monomorphic species are predominantly ground-nesters and the greater risk of nest predation for these species may constrain males from becoming more visually conspicuous. Thus, sexual selection may have been restricted to targeting song in these species. Even though song may have been the only target of sexual selection in ground-nesting species, overall, song in those species is not more complex than in species that nest above the ground. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1967-1977
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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