P-J Guay, R Leppitt, MA Weston, TR Yeager, WFD van Dongen, MRE Symonds (2018) Are the big and beautiful less bold? Differences in avian fearfulness between the sexes in relation to body size and colour. Journal of Zoology 304: 252-259

What’s it about?

We examine whether sexual differences in Flight Initiation Distances in birds are associated with sexual differences in plumage colouration and body size. They aren’t (something you can always tell if the title of the paper is a question). However, there are sexual differences in distance at which approaches are made to birds, and these DO determine the sex differences in FID.

What’s the story behind it?

Part of my ongoing collaboration to do with FID (a measure of fearfulness in birds) with Deakin colleague Mike Weston and Patrick-Jean Guay. To be honest I struggle to remember much about this paper. I did the analysis for it so long ago (possibly 3 years) – but I do remember the idea for it came about over a couple of beers in a strange cafe on a back street in North Melbourne. The data had been collected by a student of Patrick-Jean’s – Robin Leppitt. While the result wasn’t very overwhelming, it’s a pretty nicely put together piece of research – and credit to Journal of Zoology for publishing, effectively, a null result paper (the importance of which is something people always give lip service to, but journals seldom agree!)



One response »

  1. […] (largely). One of them is to do with colour pattern evolution in leaf beetles, and the other on effects of colour dimorphism on differences in fearfulness between male and female birds. Click on the links for more […]

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