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Spotted eggshells may indicate sickly mothers in great tits


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The many colors and patterns of bird eggs can provide camouflage and help parents tell their own eggs apart from those of invaders, but a forthcoming study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances suggests another function for eggshell patterns—they can provide information about the health of the mother. The researchers behind the new study found that the patterns of reddish-brown spots on the white eggs of Great Tits reflect the quality and health of the mother bird, with sicker, duller mothers laying eggs patterned with darker spots.

 

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