Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

Boerner M, Krüger O (2009)
Behavioral Ecology 20(1): 180-185.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
Genetic plumage polymorphism in birds is increasingly recognized as a potentially important trait influencing birds' life histories. In the common buzzard Buteo buteo, the 3 color morphs vary in lifetime reproductive success (LRS), but the proximate mechanisms leading to these differences are unknown. We first confirmed the stability of the fitness differences found previously, using a greatly extended LRS data set. To find potential causes for these differences, we experimentally studied variation in aggressive behavior of the morphs, both against an interspecific predator and intraspecific competitors. The morphs showed substantial variation in aggressive behavior. Light-colored males were most aggressive toward an interspecific predator, followed by intermediate and dark males. In females, this pattern was reversed, resulting in sex-related differences of aggression in 2 morphs. When defending their territory against intraspecific competitors, no absolute difference in aggression was found, but the morphs reacted strongest toward intruders of a morph similar to their own. This suggests that aggression differs both between and within morphs, leading to a complex pattern on the population level. Coupled with the strong fitness differences, our results suggest that the genetic basis of the polymorphism has far-reaching behavioral consequences.
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Boerner M, Krüger O. Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Behavioral Ecology. 2009;20(1):180-185.
Boerner, M., & Krüger, O. (2009). Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Behavioral Ecology, 20(1), 180-185.
Boerner, M., and Krüger, O. (2009). Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Behavioral Ecology 20, 180-185.
Boerner, M., & Krüger, O., 2009. Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Behavioral Ecology, 20(1), p 180-185.
M. Boerner and O. Krüger, “Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo)”, Behavioral Ecology, vol. 20, 2009, pp. 180-185.
Boerner, M., Krüger, O.: Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Behavioral Ecology. 20, 180-185 (2009).
Boerner, M., and Krüger, Oliver. “Aggression and fitness differences between plumage morphs in the common buzzard (Buteo buteo)”. Behavioral Ecology 20.1 (2009): 180-185.
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