Plumage color manipulation has no effect on social dominance or fitness in zebra finches Academic Article uri icon


  • Many species of birds have evolved a colorful plumage, and such ornamentation is thought to play a role in mate choice and in social dominance interactions. Here, we study captive zebra finches that breed in communal aviaries. In each aviary, we manipulated, using a black dye, parts of the plumage of some of the individuals. As a counter to our expectations, we observed that artificially painted individuals reached the same social dominance and reproductive success as the nonmanipulated majority of birds.


publication date

  • 2018