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Sexual selection theory focuses largely on showy male traits and choosy females, with most studies drawing conclusions from sexually dimorphic species. Until recently, female ornamentation was relatively unexplored. I investigated sex-specific behaviour in the mutually ornamented Neotropical royal flycatcher (Onychorhynchus coronatus), where both males and females possess an elaborate concealable crest. From observations in the wild, I characterized vocal and visual displays and found that the crest is a multifunctional trait used in intersexual, intrasexual, and heterospecific contexts. Using a model presentation experiment, I discovered that females exhibited a stronger response than males to territory intrusion, that females were most aggressive towards female intruders, and that females frequently displayed their crests in heterospecific defense. In summary, males and females use their crests during courtship and competition, implicating sexual selection. However, persistent female nest defense behaviour suggests that elaborate female crests may be influenced by both natural and sexual selection.
Rieveley, Kathryn Diane, "Mutual ornamentation, sex-specific behaviour, and multifunctional traits in Neotropical royal flycatchers (Onychorhynchus coronatus )" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 8249.