Iris colour in passerine birds: why be bright-eyed?

Craig, A.J.F.K. and Hulley, P.E. (2004) Iris colour in passerine birds: why be bright-eyed? South African Journal of Science, 100 (11 & 12). pp. 584-588. ISSN 0038-2353




An initial survey of iris coloration in passerine birds (Aves: Passeriformes) showed that a brightly pigmented iris is much more common in southern African and Australian birds than in those from Europe, temperate North America, and Venezuela. However, the only statistical correlation reflected the distribution of particular bird families in these regions. Ten family-level groups considered to represent monophyletic taxa were then selected for a more detailed analysis, comparing iris coloration with distribution, status, taxonomy, plumage patterns, and some biological and behavioural characters for 1143 species. No pattern associating iris colour with particular traits was common to all families, but within families there were statistically significant associations with both plumage and biology. Our expectation that social behaviour would be an important predictor of iris colour was not supported, but critical information is still lacking for many species. Future studies of avian behavioural ecology should examine critically the role of iris coloration in individual species.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Rhodes Centenary issue
Uncontrolled Keywords:Passeriformes, iris coloration, avian behavioural ecology, passerine birds
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:114
Deposited By: Rhodes Library Archive Administrator
Deposited On:15 Aug 2005
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:17
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