Evol Ecol Res 6: 595-606 (2004)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Sexual plumage differences and the outcome of game bird (Aves: Galliformes) introductions on oceanic islands

Jennifer Donze,1‡ Michael P. Moulton,1* Ronald F. Labisky1 and Walter Jetz2

1Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430 and  2Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: moultonm@wec.ufl.edu


Galliformes, after Passeriformes, is the group of birds that has been most introduced to oceanic islands. Among Passeriformes, whether the species’ plumage is sexually monochromatic or dichromatic, along with other factors such as introduction effort and interspecific competition, has been identified as a factor that limits introduction success. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that sexually dichromatic plumage reduces the probability of success for 51 species from 26 genera of game birds that were introduced onto 12 oceanic islands. Analyses revealed no significant differences in probability of introduction success between monochromatic and dichromatic species at either the generic or specific levels. We also found no significant difference between these two groups in size of native geographic range, wing length or human-introduction effort. Our results do not support the hypothesis that sexually dichromatic plumage (probably a response to sexual selection) predicts introduction outcomes of game birds as has been reported for passerine birds. These findings suggest that passerine and non-passerine birds differ fundamentally in terms of factors that could influence introduction outcome, and should therefore be evaluated separately as opposed to lumping these two groups as ‘land birds’.

Keywords: competition, Galliformes, introduction outcomes, oceanic islands, Passeriformes, sexually dichromatic plumage.

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