Wattle size is correlated with male territorial rank in juvenile Ring-necked Pheasants

Anna Papeschi, John P. Carroll, Francesco Dessì-Fulgheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We used morphological measurements and behavioral observations to investigate the relationship between male ornaments and male social rank during the breeding season in a free-ranging population of one-year-old Ring-necked Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). The sample was of birds of the same age class to avoid the confounding effect of age differences. Tail length, used by females in mate choice, and tarsal spur length, used by males as a weapon in fights, were not correlated with male rank, whereas the size of the wattle was the most important trait. This combined with recent studies showing that wattle size reliably indicates male testosterone levels at the beginning of the breeding season suggest that, among males, wattle size may be used as a signal of aggression level, and body condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-366
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Intrasexual selection
  • Male ornaments
  • Male rank
  • Phasianus colchicus
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Territoriality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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