Errors From Determining Sex Of Mourning Doves By Plumage Characteristics

Errors generated when determining the sex of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) from plumage characteristics and their effect on sex ratio projections from banded and shot samples were evaluated in a 2-year study in Louisiana. Error rates (percentage misclassified) of 3.8% and 5.0% were obtained from a sample of 236 banded and 1,820 hunter-killed doves, respectively. Converting data to sex ratios produced actual error rates of 13. I% for the banded sample and 1.1% for doves killed by hunters. No significant differences were detected in ability to determine sex in doves from plumage characteristics between sex, age, year, or status (livel-dead) classes. However, there was a significant sex X age interaction. An evaluation of the effectiveness ofthe 2 main methods of externally determining sex of mourning doves indicated that error rates when using either head or breast characteristics alone were approximately equal but higher than when using a combination of the 2 characteristics.

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