Green, but not with envy

Roman sent a photograph of a bird whom I, as a child, considered to be nearly mythical: the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). Well, she is the female.

17 August 2008 at the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center


According to Stoddard and Prum, phaeomelanin is present in plumage of all female New World buntings. Greenish coloration resulting from carotenoid deposition over structural effects occurs in both P. ciris and P. leclancherii. This carotenoid-structural color combination in females either

1. evolved from a common ancestor, and a reversal of carotenoid expression occured in P. versicolor,

~ or ~

2. evolved convergently in P. ciris and P. leclancherii.


This is adapted from the figure published in the study by Klicka et al. The silouette color indicates plumage coloration of the female. The bi-colored silouette of P. versicolor is intended to represent possible reversal after evolution of carotenoid expression in that clade, as in one of two possible evolutionary histories suggested by Stoddard and Prum

~ by finchwench on Tuesday, 16 September 2008.

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