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Dimorphic

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Definition:

(adjective) Occurring in two distinct forms with visual differences between genders. In dimorphic bird species, the male birds often have brighter coloration or more distinct markings while females are plainer and more camouflaged. Size can also be a dimorphic characteristic, when one gender is significantly larger or smaller than the other.

Dimorphic variations in bird species are often critical for courtship rituals, where the male’s bright colors are essential for attracting a mate. Similarly, bold colors may serve a role in aggression or territorial displays when males defend their chosen territory. The camouflaged females are more likely to tend the nest and rely on their less noticeable plumage as a defense mechanism.

Examples of dimorphic bird species include the wild turkey, northern cardinal and house sparrow.

Pronunciation: die-MORE-fihck
Also Known As: Sexual Dimorphism (noun), Dimorphous (adjective)
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