Extreme Reversed Sexual Dichromatism in a Bird Without Sex Role Reversal -- Heinsohn et al. 309 (5734): 617 -- Science:
Brilliant plumage is typical of male birds, reflecting differential enhancement of male traits when females are the limiting sex. Brighter females are thought to evolve exclusively in response to sex role reversal. The striking reversed plumage dichromatism of Eclectus roratus parrots does not fit this pattern. We quantify plumage color in this species and show that very different selection pressures are acting on males and females. Male plumage reflects a compromise between the conflicting requirements for camouflage from predators while foraging and conspicuousness during display. Females are liberated from the need for camouflage but compete for rare nest hollows.
Evolutionary hypotheses tested.