Variable Crown Plumage (image) University of California - Santa Cruz Share Print E-Mail Caption The brightness and coloring of the plumage on the heads of golden-crowned sparrows is highly variable. Studies show that the patches of yellow and black plumage serve as 'badges of status' signifying dominance status. Credit Bruce Lyon Usage Restrictions For use only with news coverage of this research Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.