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Why do birds have different coloured eggs?

Posted on 23. December, 2011.

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Modern reptiles invariably have white eggs. But the evolution of birds has led to a spectacular array of coloured and patterned eggshells. Avian Biology Research looks at what role these colours play in the reproductive biology of birds.

The role of colour in avian eggshells remains a mystery. Over the years, eminent biologists have proposed that that egg colour is involved with camouflage, sexual signalling, eggshell strength, egg recognition in light of brood parasitism, and even anti-bacterial activity. Despite these many hypotheses, we do not have a categorical explanation for why some birds have coloured or spotted eggs and some have white eggs.

A special issue of Avian Biology Research, published in December 2011, brings together a collection of invited reviews on the topic of egg colouration from leading authorities around the world. Hypotheses explaining the colour and patterns that some bird eggshells display are explored. Ideas about the functional significance of colour in avian reproduction are also discussed.

In this issue:

Avian Biology Research, is published quarterly by Science Reviews 2000 Ltd.  It is a broad-based scientific journal covering all aspects of ornithology. For more information visit

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