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The more carotenoids a male house finch consumes during foraging, the brighter red his plumage will become. The girls prefer the brightest red, they say, guys sporting golden yellows, apparently, are less desirable mates.

“In the wild, three carotenoid pigments found in natural foods give House Finches their color. Beta-carotene produces yellow to orange colors, isocryptoxanthin produces orange colors, and echinenone produces red colors.”

~Project FeederWatch, Color Variations in House Finches

I do not know which foods have which yellow, orange or red producing carotenoids in them. And I don’t know why the gals might think the boys in red make better mates.

Personally, I think the guy in the Tequila Sunrise set of finery is pretty handsome.


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