Sexual Size Dimorphism and Bohemian Waxwings, Bombycilla garrulus


  • Sarah M. Ludlow Department of Biology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2



Bohemian Waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus, sexual size dimorphism, Saskatchewan


Sexual size dimorphism is common among birds, with males generally being larger than females. Sexual size dimorphism is typically more extreme in polygynous species; socially monogamous males are typically only 5% larger than females. However, cryptic sexual size dimorphism has been found in some socially monogamous species. I used standard external measurements as well as two internal measurements (keel length and pectoral muscle mass) to determine whether, or to what extent, Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) exhibit sexual size dimorphism. Males were only slightly larger than females in all of the characters measured except keel and tarsus length. Keel and tarsus length were 0.6% and 1% longer, respectively, in females than in males. The similar size exhibited by males and females may be related to the amount of parental care provided by males. Smaller body size in males may reflect a trade-off between selection for increased male size and energetic constraints imposed by parental care.