Pheomelanin-based colouration is correlated with indices of flying strategies in the Barn Owl

Motti Charter, Yossi Leshem, Ido Izhaki, Alexandre Roulin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Resource polymorphism refers to individuals from the same population foraging in alternative habitats or on alternative food. Food specialization can be associated with adaptations such as colour polymorphism, with pale and dark colours conferring differential camouflage in different habitats. Pale and dark-reddish pheomelanic Barn Owls (Tyto alba) forage on different prey species in closed and open habitats, respectively. We show here that darker-reddish owls have heavier stomach content when found dead, and their 5th secondary wing feather is more deeply anchored inside the integument. These correlations suggest that their feathers bend less when flying, and that darker-reddish Barn Owls are able sustain more intense flying than their paler conspecifics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-312
Number of pages4
JournalJournal fur Ornithologie
Volume156
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Funding

FundersFunder number
Swiss National Science and Addax-Oryx Foundations
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung153467
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung

    Keywords

    • Colour polymorphism
    • Feather
    • Flying
    • Foraging
    • Melanin
    • Stomach content

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Pheomelanin-based colouration is correlated with indices of flying strategies in the Barn Owl'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this