Mate choice in the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla): are settlement decisions, divorce and extrapair mating complementary strategies?

Green, D. J., Krebs, E. A. and Cockburn, A. (2004) Mate choice in the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla): are settlement decisions, divorce and extrapair mating complementary strategies?. Behavioral Ecology And Sociobiology, 55 3: 278-285. doi:10.1007/s00265-003-0679-z


Author Green, D. J.
Krebs, E. A.
Cockburn, A.
Title Mate choice in the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla): are settlement decisions, divorce and extrapair mating complementary strategies?
Journal name Behavioral Ecology And Sociobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0340-5443
Publication date 2004-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00265-003-0679-z
Volume 55
Issue 3
Start page 278
End page 285
Total pages 8
Editor T. Czeschlik
Place of publication Berlin
Publisher Springer-Verlag
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
270708 Conservation and Biodiversity
780105 Biological sciences
0502 Environmental Science and Management
0602 Ecology
Abstract In socially monogamous birds, females may express mate preferences when they first select a breeding partner, through divorce and subsequent breeding dispersal to a new partner and through extrapair mating. We examined settlement patterns, divorce and breeding dispersal in a sedentary Australian passerine, the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla), in relation to two traits known to influence extrapair paternity (male age and male size). Settlement decisions, divorce and territory switching behaviour were all female strategies that reduced their likelihood of breeding with 1-year-old males. Females preferred to settle in territories with 2+ -year-old males, were more likely to divorce 1-year-old males, and only switched territories if they had an opportunity to form a new pair bond with an old male. In contrast, female settlement and divorce decisions were not influenced by male size. Female thornbills obtain a direct benefit from preferring older males as social mates because breeding success improves with male age in brown thornbills. Nevertheless, divorce rates in this species were low (14% of pair bonds were terminated by divorce), and individuals rarely switched territories following the death of a mate. Both of these mating strategies appeared to be primarily constrained by the distance adults moved to initiate a new pair bond (1-2 territories) and by the limited availability of unpaired older males in the immediate neighbourhood.
Keyword Behavioral Sciences
Ecology
Zoology
Breeding Dispersal
Divorce
Female Choice
Monogamy
Natal Dispersal
Pair Paternity
Sedge Warbler
Life-history
Birds
Dispersal
Song
Passerine
Behavior
Survival
Quality
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:14:17 EST