Splendid dress

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Mallard pair in splendid dress (in front the ♂)
Ruff (♂) in splendid dress
Star in a magnificent dress

Bird species with seasonal dimorphic clothes (e.g. many types of ducks , snipe birds , gulls and passerines ) wear the splendor or breeding dress during the breeding season (in Central Europe mostly in the first half of the year) . It is acquired through (partial) moulting , and now and then through wear and tear of feather hems, which still cover the striking colors in the plain dress (e.g. in redtails , the starling and the mountain finch ). It is usually more striking, more colorful and cleaner than the simple dress. The term is also used for the females, even if the differences between gorgeous and simple dress are usually not so noticeable for them.

The training of the magnificent dress is primarily used for partner advertising and the delimitation of the territory. It is predominantly the males who put on a striking, magnificent dress. But there are also exceptions (e.g. Odin's and Thor's chickens ), in which the females are the active part in recruiting and are consequently more conspicuously colored.

As a rule, bird species can be identified much more easily when they wear their splendid dress, as they then often develop characteristic features that clearly distinguish them from similar species. If males and females are colored differently, the sexual dimorphism in the splendid dress is usually much more evident than in the plain dress.


  • Wolf-Dieter Busching: Handbook of the plumage of European birds . AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-89104-570-0 .