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Melanism (dark coloration) is a condition resulting from a greater than normal expres-sion of the eumelanin pigments in the plumage (Gill 1990). The dark coloration can be advantageous to raptors by increasing the feathers’ resistance to bacterial degradation (Goldstein et al. 2004). conversely, abnormally dark pigmentation can reduce success in pairing by disguising key species-identification cues (García 2003) and decrease lifetime reproductive success by increasing mortality (krüger and lindström 2001). Polymorphism in color, of which melanism is one example, occurs in at least 3.5% of avian species worldwide and in 22% of raptors of the family Accipitridae (harriers, hawks, eagles, kites, and Old World vultures;...