Sexual size dimorphism and morphometric sexing in a North African population of Laughing Doves (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Ayadi, T., Hammouda, A., Kididi, S., Yahyaoui, M. H. & Selmi, S. (2016). Sexual size dimorphism and morphometric sexing in a North African population of Laughing Doves Spilopelia senegalensis. Ostrich 87: 173–177. doi: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1188173


Like the majority of Columbiformes, the Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis is sexually monomorphic in plumage, but seems to be slightly dimorphic in size. However, due to the lack of studies little is known about the sexual size dimorphism in this species. In this work, we used morphometric data on a sample of 61 Laughing Doves from southern Tunisia, and sexed using a DNA-based method, to assess size differences between males and females and to determine a discriminant function useful for sex identification. The results showed that wing length was the most dimorphic trait, which could be due to the effects of sexual selection. The best function for the discrimination between sexes included wing length and head length, which is comparable with findings on other dove species. This discriminant function accurately classified 89% of birds, providing a rapid and accurate tool for sex identification in the studied population. Further data from different populations are needed for firmer conclusions about the extent of sexual size dimorphism and the reliability of the morphometric sexing approach in this dove species.

Morphometric sexing of Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls in Gabès, Tunisia

Hammouda, A. & Selmi, S. (2013). Morphometric sexing of Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis michahellis breeding in the Gulf of Gabès, southern Tunisia. Ostrich 84 (2): 119-122.


Discriminant analysis functions have previously been determined for sexing Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis michahellis from the western Mediterranean basin. However, data from eastern Mediterranean populations are lacking. In this work, we used morphometric data from a sample of 81 Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls (39 males and 42 females) breeding in the Gulf of Gabès in south-eastern Tunisia to (1) determine a dscriminant function useful for sex discrimination, and (2) assess the accuracy of previously published functions in sexing Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls from our study area. Our results showed marked sexual differences in all morphological measurements, with males being significantly larger than females. The best discriminant function included head length, bill depth and wing length, and accurately classified 93% of sampled birds. We also found that Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gulls from the Gulf of Gabès could accurately be sexed using discriminant functions determined for another North African population, but not with a function determined for a South European population, although distances between sites are almost the same.

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)

Larus michahellis – Goéland leucophée – Yellow-legged Gull (Sébastien Bertru, license: CC-by-sa)