Extra-pair paternity and song characteristics in the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

D Gil, Peter James Bramwell Slater, Jefferson Alden Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Complexity in bird song is often argued to be advantageous in processes of sexual selection, and numerous studies show that characteristics of song are associated with increased success in territory defence or mate attraction. Less evidence exists on the relationship between bird song characteristics and patterns of extra-pair paternity. We tested whether males that suffered from extra-pair paternity differed in song characteristics from males with no extra pair paternity in the willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus. In the Scottish population that we studied, we found that 23.5% of young were not related to the social father, and that 47% of nests contained at least one extra pair young. Older males were less likely to suffer paternity loss. While song repertoire size was not related to loss of paternity, males with short Songs Suffered higher paternity loss than males with long songs. Although arrival date is a good correlate of social mate choice in this population, it was not related to extra-pair paternity. These results suggest that females use song length, or it trait correlated with this song characteristic, as a cue for choosing extra-pair partners in this species, or alternatively that variance in the Success of mate guarding or female coercion is related to this song variable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • FINCH TAENIOPYGIA-GUTTATA
  • GREAT REED WARBLER
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • REPERTOIRE SIZE
  • MATE CHOICE
  • REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS
  • OFFSPRING VIABILITY
  • MELOSPIZA-MELODIA
  • HIGH-FREQUENCY
  • FEMALE CHOICE

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