Sexual dichromatism of the Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Coeligena helianthea, hummingbird plumage

Juliana Sosa, Juan L. Parra, Doekele G. Stavenga, Marco A. Giraldo*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

4 Citaten (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Among the many richly coloured birds, hummingbirds with their brilliant colouration are outstanding. We studied the plumage of male and female Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Coeligena helianthea, which exhibits a marked sexual dichromatism. The wide diversity of coloured feathers (blue, purple, golden, green, red) makes it an attractive species to investigate the structural basis of the colouration and to study the connection between the displayed colours and the perception by conspecifics. We analysed the optical properties of the feather barbules, applying spectrophotometry, scatterometry, and electron microscopy. Using the anatomical results, the spectral data can be interpreted by optical modelling. The reflectance spectra of the feathers of male C. helianthea strikingly overlap with the spectral sensitivities of bird photoreceptors, which suggests that the feather and photoreceptor spectra are tuned.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)289-296
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftJournal of Ornithology
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - jan.-2020

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