Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Leonard Smock

Second Advisor

Robert Reilly


Flamboyant plumage and ornamentation is common and well-known in male birds; it serves as a sexual display to attract potential mates. While flamboyant plumage is less common and usually more subtle in female birds, it does occur in some species such as Dark-Eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) and Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea). Prothonotary Warblers display relatively subtle sexual dimorphism. This study examines variations in tail spot patterns in Prothonotary Warblers and relates those variations to age in females. Females with fewer than six spots tend to be two years old or younger; females with six spots or more tend to be three years old or older. The tail spot numbers of mated pairs were also analyzed. Statistical analyses indicate that males mate with females with six tail spots more often than they mate with females with other numbers of tail spots. This suggests males prefer females who are at least three years old.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2008

Included in

Biology Commons