Brown falcon plumages and recent photos

To: <>
Subject: Brown falcon plumages and recent photos
From: "Paul McDonald" <>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 23:26:54 +1000
Dear John and others,

A very interesting thread. The photos are also quite good for such a quick 
event. Given the discussion of plumages recently I thought I'd also mention 
from the photos the victorious resident (on the ground in the second photo), is 
definitely an adult bird (white not cream markings which are spots not blotches 
on the underwing coverts) and almost certainly a female (dark band across top 
of chest). More interestingly, the two birds in the agonistic interaction are 
the same sex, and, the bird flying on it's own in the last photo is a young 
bird (buff not cream markings and generally dark underparts), which from the 
previous photot appears to be the loser of the interaction. So, together this 
suggests the older resident female driving out the younger 'floater' female.

This observation also fits with my findings in Melbourne that female-female 
competition is more intense in this species than between males, which appears 
to be favouring increased female size (hence the maintenance of reversed sexual 
size dimorphism).

Great pics!

Happy falconing,

Dr Paul G. McDonald
Department of Zoology
La Trobe University
Bundoora, Victoria 3086
Ph: + 613 9395 3253       Fax: +613 9395 3150

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