First-year, but not adult, Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea) have a previously unknown supplemental plumage. The presupplemental molt includes all of the rectrices, the outermost but not the innermost primaries, and, typically, the three innermost secondaries and all body feathers. In this molt, young females exchange one adult-femalelike plumage for another, while young males exchange an ... [Show full abstract] adult-femalelike plumage for one that matches that of adult males in winter. Thus, in their first year Indigo Buntings wear: first, the juvenile plumage, the body feathers of which begin replacement before the tail is fully grown; second, the first basic plumage, which in both sexes is entirely femalelike in coloration and includes the juvenile remiges and rectrices; third, the supplemental plumage, assumed either prior to fall migration (<10% of individuals) or on the wintering ground (>90% of individuals) and in which obvious sexual dichromatism is first achieved; and fourth, the first alternate plumage, acquired in a prolonged and often incomplete prealternate molt of body feathers that occurs during February, March, and April on the wintering ground and during the spring in the United States. Because almost all of the femalelike first basic plumage of young males is lost in the presupplemental molt, this plumage almost certainly is an adaptation to conditions encountered either in the fall or early in the first winter. Furthermore, the ensuing supplemental plumage cannot be compromised by color requirements of the first breeding season because of the intervening prealternate molt; thus, the adult-malelike plumage produced by the presupplemental molt likely evolved to meet a change in signaling requirements that occurs in early winter. The signaling function of this plumage is unknown. Because this supplemental plumage of young males resembles the winter plumage of adult males and because all feathers grown by young males in their first prealternate molt resemble those of the adult male breeding plumage, the female mimicry hypothesis of Rohwer et al. (1980) is untenable for the subadult breeding plumage of yearling male Indigo Buntings.