A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The Function and Evolution of Colorful Plumage in the House Finch

Hardcover | September 26, 2002

byGeoffrey E. Hill

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This is an account of studies of the function and evolution of colorful plumage in the House Finch. It is also an engaging study on the evolution of sexual selection in birds and a lively portrait of the challenges and constraints of experimental design facing any field investigator workingwith animal behavior. Part I sets the stage for modern studies of the function of plumage coloration with a review of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Part II focuses on the proximate control and present function of plumage coloration. Part III takes a more explicitlyevolutionary approach to the study of plumage coloration using biogeography and phylogeny to test hypotheses for why specific forms of plumage color display have evolved. It concludes with an account of comparative studies that have been conducted in the House Finch and other cardueline finches andthe insight these studies have provided on the evolution of carotenoid-based ornamental coloration.

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This is an account of studies of the function and evolution of colorful plumage in the House Finch. It is also an engaging study on the evolution of sexual selection in birds and a lively portrait of the challenges and constraints of experimental design facing any field investigator workingwith animal behavior. Part I sets the stage fo...

Geoffrey E. Hill is at Auburn University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 6.18 × 9.29 × 0.79 inPublished:September 26, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195148487

ISBN - 13:9780195148480

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Table of Contents

Part 1. Prelude1. Darwinism and Wallacism: A Brief Account of the Long History of the Study of Plumage Coloration2. A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: An Introduction to the House Finch3. In the Eye of the Beholder: Color Vision and the Quantification of ColorPart 2. The Proximate Control and Function of Red Plumage4. You Are What You Eat: Plumage Pigments and Carotenoid Physiology5. A Matter of Condition: The Effects of Environment on Plumage Coloration6. Darwin Vindicated: Female Choice and Sexual Selection in the House Finch7. Fine Fathers and Good Genes: The Direct and Indirect Benefits of Female Choice8. Studs, Duds, and Studly Duds: Plumage Coloration, Hormones, and Dominance9. The Feeling's Mutual: Female Plumage Coloration and Male Mate ChoicePart 3. Biogeography and the Evolution of Colorful Plumage10. From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli (New York): Populations, Subspecies, and Geographic Variation in Ornamental Coloration11. Why Red?: The Evolution of Color Display12. EpilogueGlossaryReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This short book looks at coloration in house finches. It provides background information on house finch natural history, explains the 'proximate control and function of red plumage" in the house finch, and discusses the evolution of brightly colored plumage."--Ecology