White-bone-top chicks use bright colors to gain parental favors

According tomedia reports, bright orange and red feathers, North America’s white-boned-top chicks like safety vests. A new study from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), suggests that this color not only helps get more food from parents, but also serves as a way to maximize bird breeding strategies.

White-bone-top chicks use bright colors to gain parental favors

The American white-boned chicken is considered to be the most colorful water bird with its gray and black feathers and white beak. In contrast, the white-bone-top chicks are colorful. In a world full of predators, this may seem like a bad evolutionary behavior, but recent research has shown that this bright orange existence makes its own sense.

According to UCSC, the white-boned chicks use their bright colors to manipulate their parents to give themselves priority over their other siblings. But what kind of role does this color play?

White-bone-top chicks use bright colors to gain parental favors

Bruce Lyon, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCSC, said: “This is an interesting question because there is a theory of a conflict of interest between parents and children that it may be that chicks manipulated their parents to get more food. Research shows that parents are very concerned about the decoration, so we focus on the natural change sofe of the baby color. “

As it turns out, the puzzle has more meaning, that the white bone top is actually “incubate parasites”. Like azaleas, the white bone top not only lays eggs in its own nest, but also in the nest of other white bones. If the bright colors are just to get more attention from parents, then these intruder chicks should be more colorful than other chicks, but they are not.

To find out, Lyon and Daizaburo Shizuka, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, collected about 1,500 white-boned eggs and hatched them under indoor control conditions. As the chicks grew, the researchers accurately measured the color of the chicks using photoelectric color meters. In addition, the researchers recorded each chicken’s bone-top family, egg-laying and hatching order, and whether it came from parasitic eggs.

As a result, they found that color richness was controlled by the order in which spawning, and that the chicks who spawned later were more colorful. Since chicks have no way to control these pigments, the color changes may be due to the mother adding more carotenoid pigment to each subsequent egg.

White-bone-top chicks use bright colors to gain parental favors

UCSC’s research suggests that this is because the reproductive strategy of the white bone top involves laying a large number of small eggs. About half of all will die of hunger because the food supply cannot feed so many chickens. Overslaid increases the chances of survival of the largest number of chicks associated with the food supply.

This is the origin of the chicken color. After the first chicks were born, their parents fed them indiscriminately, but about 10 days after the birth of the last chick, the parents began to pay more attention to smaller, more vivid chicks. In this way, larger chicks are ignored, while smaller chicks get more food so they can grow faster, catching up with their siblings and even surpassing them. This is also why the parasitic chicks are not very bright lynx, because hens use opportunistic spawning.

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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