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Publication Date

Spring 2016


Sexual dimorphism occurs in many songbird species, where plumage ornamentation and song are greatly exaggerated. Studies have shown that life history traits like nest shape and ecological environments may influence sexual selection in birds. In this study, I examined whether or not certain life history traits affect human perception of attractiveness in birds. Using previous scores of human perceived attractiveness of song and plumage, I ran a candidate model set of linear regression models and ranked them based on the Akaike information criterion correlation (AICc) scores of life history covariates to determine the top model of the candidate set. Using the top model, I predicted scores for 15 new songbird species. I found a negative correlation between visual and vocal attractiveness when comparing the top 5 song covariates. A weak positive correlation was found when only comparing the top 5 plumage covariates and the different top 5 song and plumage covariates. This study may further inform conservation biologists about human perception of birds to raise awareness of avian conservation in order to protect unique songbird species.