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1.  Sexy birds are superior at solving a foraging problem 
Biology Letters  2011;7(5):668-669.
Yellow, red or orange carotenoid-based colorations in male birds are often a signal to prospecting females about body condition, health status and ability to find food. However, this general ‘ability to find food’ has never been defined. Here we show that more brightly ornamented individuals may also be more efficient when foraging in novel situations. The results highlight the fact that evolution may have provided females tools to evaluate cognitive abilities of the males.
PMCID: PMC3169050  PMID: 21450725
Carduelis spinus; problem-solving; foraging ability; coloration
2.  Specific Appetite for Carotenoids in a Colorful Bird 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10716.
Since carotenoids have physiological functions necessary for maintaining health, individuals should be selected to actively seek and develop a specific appetite for these compounds.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Great tits Parus major in a diet choice experiment, both in captivity and the field, preferred carotenoid-enriched diets to control diets. The food items did not differ in any other aspects measured besides carotenoid content.
Specific appetite for carotenoids is here demonstrated for the first time, placing these compounds on a par with essential nutrients as sodium or calcium.
PMCID: PMC2873299  PMID: 20502717
3.  Local differentiation in the presence of gene flow in the citril finch Serinus citrinella 
Biology Letters  2005;2(1):85-87.
It is well known theoretically that gene flow can impede genetic differentiation between populations. In this study, we show that in a highly mobile bird species, where dispersal is well documented, there is a strong genetic and morphological differentiation over a very short geographical scale (less than 5 km). Allocation tests revealed that birds caught in one area were assigned genetically to the same area with a very high probability, in spite of current gene flow. Populations were also morphologically differentiated. The results suggest that the relationship between gene flow and differentiation can be rather complicated and non-intuitive.
PMCID: PMC1617188  PMID: 17148333
gene flow; genetic differentiation; morphological differentiation; dispersal; finches

Results 1-3 (3)