Age- and sex-related differences in head feather patterns of black stilts ( Himantopus novaezelandiae )
|Title||Age- and sex-related differences in head feather patterns of black stilts ( Himantopus novaezelandiae )|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2000|
|Authors||Elkington, SP, Maloney, RF|
|Type of Article||paper|
Patterns of white feathers on the heads of 10 female and 18 male wild and captive adult black stilts (Himantopus novaezelandiae) were quantified to determine whether the presence and location of white flecking was age- or sex-related. Eleven of the males, but none of the females had white flecking on their heads. Flecking occurred on 2-7 of 9 head regions described and an increased amount of flecking was positively correlated with increasing age. Males without white flecks were 2-7 years old, whereas males with flecks were aged 5-19 years. Most flecking was around the eyes, in the superciliary region and on the crown. We conclude that the presence of white flecking around the eyes or generally scattered on the head is a reliable indicator of a black stilt being old and male.