Ornis Hungarica. vol.14. (2004) p.15-21.
Male badge size is related to clutch volume in the Kentish Plover
Shorebirds show large interspecific variability in melanin-based breast coloration, although the adaptive value of this trait is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated whether variation in the size of breast bands (badge) in male Kentish Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) is related to the start of their breeding and volume of their clutches. We found that males with large badges started breeding earlier than males with small badges. Large-badged males also had larger clutch volumes than males with smaller badges, after controlling for seasonal effects. These results suggest that large-badged male Kentish Plovers may have a reproductive advantage over small-badged ones, because usually both early breeding and large egg volumes increases reproductive success in shorebirds. These results suggest that badge size may signal male quality that affects either the females' investment in eggs or the success of males in territory defence.