WATTLE SIZE IS CORRELATED WITH MALE TERRITORIAL RANK IN JUVENILE RING-NECKED PHEASANTS
Copyright The Cooper Ornithological Society 2003.
We used morphological measurements and behavioral observations to investigate the relationship between male ornaments and male social rank during the breeding season in a free-ranging population of one-year-old Ring-necked Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). The sample was of birds of the same age class to avoid the confounding effect of age differences. Tail length, used by females in mate choice, and tarsal spur length, used by males as a weapon in fights, were not correlated with male rank, whereas the size of the wattle was the most important trait. This combined with recent studies showing that wattle size reliably indicates male testosterone levels at the beginning of the breeding season suggest that, among males, wattle size may be used as a signal of aggression level, and body condition.