Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Color of robins' eggs determines parental care

Date:
May 14, 2012
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A male robin will be more diligent in caring for its young if the eggs its mate lays are a brighter shade of blue.

Robin's eggs, almost ready to hatch. A male robin will be more diligent in caring for its young if the eggs its mate lays are a brighter shade of blue.
Credit: Dleindec / Fotolia

A male robin will be more diligent in caring for its young if the eggs its mate lays are a brighter shade of blue.

Queen's University biology professor Bob Montgomerie has been studying robins on and off for 25 years and has a particular fascination with the bright blue colour of their eggs. To test a theory on the purpose of bright egg colouration, Dr. Montgomerie and MSc student Philina English, working at the Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) and other sites around Kingston, replaced the real eggs in robins' nests with artificial eggs of different shades of blue.

Just before the real eggs would have hatched, the researchers replaced the artificial eggs with baby robins.

"We were testing the idea males can use egg colour as a signal of the quality and health of their mate, and that healthy mates create better babies," says Dr. Montgomerie, whose research focuses on sexual selection and parental care in birds. "Sure enough, males whose nests contained the brightest blue eggs fed their newly-hatched babies twice as much."

The blue colour in robin eggs is due to biliverdin, a pigment deposited on the eggshell when the female lays the eggs. There is some evidence that higher biliverdin levels indicate a healthier female and brighter blue eggs. Eggs laid by a healthier female seemed to encourage males to take more interest in their young.

The paper was published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Color of robins' eggs determines parental care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122838.htm>.
Queen's University. (2012, May 14). Color of robins' eggs determines parental care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122838.htm
Queen's University. "Color of robins' eggs determines parental care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122838.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins