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Announcing the Ornithology Exchange Journal Club

Join in a lively discussion of a paper published in the Wilson Journal reporting gaudy juvenile plumage in two neotropical forest species. Just what does it mean?
Announcing the Ornithology Exchange Journal Club!

Ornithology Exchange invites all members to take part in our new Journal Club. The OEJC will be much like a grad school journal club but won't meet at regular hours and (regretfully) there won't be beer and pizza at the end. No one will assign papers, either. Anyone can choose a paper or set of papers on a given subject and initiate a discussion. Everyone else can then chime in with questions or comments.

We hope you will follow these guidelines:
  • Start with a brief synopsis of the paper: What question did the study address? Describe the methods and the conclusion.
  • Critique the study, including methods, statistical analysis, and the extent to which the results do or do not support the conclusions.
  • Discuss the paper in the context of other leading papers on the subject.
  • Return to your journal club frequently for several weeks to check for and respond to questions and comments.
For our very first discussion, we invite you to discuss a paper presenting a curious case of gaudy nestling plumage in two neotropical forest species: (Laniocera hypopyrra) and Brazilian Laniisoma (Laniisoma elegans).

Because a video is worth 100,000 words, take a look at this remarkable footage of a Cinereous Miner nestling: (starts at about 3:11):

Authors Fernando Mendonca D'Horta, Guy Kirwan, and Dante Buzzetti suggest that this unusual characteristic is evidence of the taxonomic relationship of the two genera.

Attached File  Gaudy Juvenile Plumages-Mendonca D'horta et al. 2012.pdf   3.19MB   801 downloads

To kick off the discussion, Ben Leese takes a critical look at one of the two explanations offered by the authors for this bright juvenile plumage. He argues that Batesian mimcry is not plausible and offers nest-mate competition (along with the related factor of parental selection) and prevention of nest parasitism.

Attached File  Commentary - gaudy juvenile plumage - Leese-2013.doc   41KB   366 downloads

Field Museum ornithologist John Bates (no relation) happened to chose this subject for an April presentation to museum members and even proposed a caterpillar that might be the model species.



The OE administrators thank the authors and the Wilson Journal for permission to post the full text of the original paper and to Ben Leese for his thoughtful commentary.


Johan Ingels
Aug 29 2013 02:31 AM
Yesterday I visited the Ornithology Exchange site and to my surprise I found a discussion about the remarkable plumages of juvenile Laniocera hypopyrra and Laniisoma elegans... In the latest issue of Neotropical Birding, we published a Photospot: Do juvenile Cinereous Mourners Laniocera hypopyrra mimic large, hairy caterpillars? by Johan Ingels and Mathieu Entraygues, Neotropical Birding 13, 47-49, 2013. The Photospot is illustrated with live photos of a juvenile Cinereous Mourner recently made in French Guiana by Mathieu Entraygues. Those visitors of the OE site interested in a pdf of this Photospot for personal use, should contact me personally: johan.ingels(at)skynet.be Johan Ingels.