Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 571–574 | Cite as

Tail pattern variation in the Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)

  • Cristian Pérez-Granados
  • Javier Seoane
Short Communication


Delayed plumage maturation occurs in birds when subadult plumage is retained until after the first breeding season. We analysed data from 114 Black Wheatears (Oenanthe leucura), which were trapped during 2014–2016 in southeastern Spain, to explore whether biometric measurements, and more specifically tail pattern, differed among age and sex classes, and whether there was a relationship between tail pattern and delayed plumage maturation. Males and adults were heavier and had longer wings and tails than females and juveniles, respectively. Adult birds had longer terminal black tail bars than juveniles, which suggests a potential dominance-signalling function for the tail pattern. Further research is needed to investigate the relationship between these traits and sexual selection and dominance in Black Wheatear.


Biometry Delayed plumage maturation Dominance signal Sexual selection 


Variation im Schwanzmuster des Trauersteinschmätzers ( Oenanthe leucura )

Manche Vogelarten verzögern die Ausbildung ihres Altvogel-Federkleids, indem sie das subadulte Gefieder bis nach der ersten Brutsaison behalten. Wir analysierten die Daten von 114 Trauersteinschmätzern (Oenanthe leucura), die zwischen 2014 und 2016 in Südostspanien gefangen wurden. Wir untersuchten, ob sich biometrische Daten und speziell das Schwanzmuster nach Alter und Geschlecht unterscheiden und wie es sich zu einer verzögerten Ausbildung des Alvogelkleids verhält. Männchen und Altvögel waren schwerer und hatten längere Flügel und längere Schwänze als Weibchen und Jungvögel. Altvögel hatten längere schwarze Schwanzendbinden als Jungvögel, womit dem Schwanzmuster eine Signalfunktion für Dominanz zukommen könnte. Es bedarf weiterer Untersuchungen, um die Beziehungen dieser Merkmale zu sexueller Selektion und Dominanz beim Trauersteinschmätzer zu untersuchen.



We wish to thank the Servicio de Vida Silvestre of Conselleria D´infraestructures, Territori i Medi Ambient (Generalitat Valenciana) for ringing permits. We would like to thank Roque Belenguer and especially Gregorio Pérez Trincado for their invaluable assistance during the entire study. JS works within the Madrid’s Government research group network REMEDINAL3-CM (S-2013/MAE-2719).

Supplementary material

10336_2017_1524_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (222 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 222 kb)


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Terrestrial Ecology Group (TEG-UAM), Department of EcologyUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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