Female off-territory forays, personality and extra-pair mate choice in the great tit (Parus major)

N. Bircher, C.H.J. Oers, C.A. Hinde, M. Naguib

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Monogamy was long thought to be the primary mating system
in birds. However, molecular techniques have revealed
that many socially monogamous bird species pursue copulations
outside the social pair-bond, often leading to extra-pair
offspring. The behavioural mechanisms leading to extra-pair
offspring are not well understood. In a territorial species at
least one of the two individuals involved in an extra-pair
copulation must leave its territory. While extra-pair fertilizations
were often thought to reflect male interests, there is
now growing evidence that females may control extra-pair
mating in many bird species and that they might use male
vocal performance to assess potential extra-pair mates. Here
we combine an automatic tracking system (Encounternet)
and microsatellite genotyping in order to investigate female
off-territory movements and mate choice in a wild population
of personality typed great tits (Parus major). We quantify
male vocal performance using automatic song recordings
collected at dawn during the breeding season. We expect
that females actively pursue extra-pair copulations by
foraying into the territory of other males during their fertile
period and that these female forays are strongly influenced
by both female personality and male song.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2018
Event27th International Ornithological Congress - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 19 Aug 201826 Aug 2018


Conference27th International Ornithological Congress


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