June 30, 2021 1:13 pm
Following habitat-destroying wildfires, researchers found many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. The birds' fat stores and stress hormone corticosterone remained at normal levels. While the findings are specific to this songbird, they may have implications for other species that don special coloration for mating.