bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals

Subject: bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals
From: Ian Fraser <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 17:46:24 +1000
Thanks Ray. This is a biggie - ie good question! There is no simple answer overarching answer, but in any case I'm not really convinced by the question; if you start going through familiar species you'll probably think of more cases where sexes are the same or nearly so than where they're not (and even a very few examples, such as button-quails and painted snipe, where the female is the gaudy one). As a somewhat facile rule of thumb though, the more brightly coloured a male is relative to his mate, the more socially useless he is - although a good case could be made for the social value of being conspicuous and being eaten, rather than letting it happen to the more modestly attired female sitting on the nest. This is overly simple of course, and there's a lot more to it, but I'm sure things are already occurring to you!



On 21/07/2012 17:34, Sue-Ellen and Ray wrote:
Ian - Thanks for info, most interesting. I have not researched this area but sounds like others have with some very specific results. You have started me wondering now why,typically, the male birds have the brighter colours. I am sure there is a one liner there somewhere.


-----Original Message----- From: Ian Fraser
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2012 2:14 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] bedlam (briefly) at Hawker ovals

On 21/07/2012 08:00, Sue-Ellen and Ray wrote:
So on goes the debate – are birds and dogs colour blind!!

Well that one at least we can answer with some certainty. Dogs see the
world in monochrome - like nearly all other vertebrates except frogs,
ungulates, primates and birds. Birds not only see all the colour
spectrum that we do, but far more. Where we have just three pigments in
the cone cells (colour receptors) most birds have four, some five; this
means that they discriminate colour much more subtly than us,
effectively seeing colours, or at least shades, that we can't. Moreover
at least some, probably many, species see shorter wave-lengths than we
can, so see colours that we have no names for - we just lump them
somewhat dismissively as 'ultra-violet'.

I don't suppose this helps the broader discussion, but S-E and R asked
the question....




Ian Fraser, 
Environment Tours; Vertego Environmental Consultancy
PO Box 4148, Weston Creek, ACT 2611
ph: 61 2 6287 4813

This is the email announcement and discussion list of the Canberra 
Ornithologists Group.
Please ensure that emails posted to the list are less than 100 kb in size.
When subscribing or unsubscribing, please insert the word 'Subscribe' or 
'Unsubscribe', as applicable, in the email's subject line.
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>
List-Subscribe: <>
List archive: <>
List manager: David McDonald, email 

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU