Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Extra-pair copulations (EPCs) can create or intensify sexual selection and, provided that fertilisation success is related to phenotypic traits, help explain sexual dimorphism in socially monogamous species. Previous experimental manipulations of the ornamental coloration in male bluethroats, Luscinia s. svecica, have shown effects on their social mating success, mate-guarding behaviour, and within-pair- and extra-pair paternity. This study investigates the relationship between male characteristics (reflectance of the blue throat feathers, width of the chestnut breast band, wing length, body condition and age) and fertilisation success under natural, non-experimental conditions. Combining three breeding seasons, 29% of 720 offspring were sired by extra-pair males and 54% of 136 nests contained one or more extra-pair offspring. The chroma (spectral purity) of the blue throat feathers and the width of the chestnut band were positively related to paternity in own nest, and for blue chroma this translated into a significantly positive relation with total fertilisation success. This suggests that differential within-pair paternity success exerts directional selection on the colour signal. None of the throat colour measures or morphological traits were significantly related to overall extra-pair fertilisation (EPF) success. However, restricting the analysis to males with one or more EPFs, there was a positive relation between amount of extra-pair paternity and blue chroma. Old males were more successful than young ones in achieving EPFs. Pairwise comparisons showed no plumage differences between cuckolded males and the males that cuckolded them. The absence of phenotypic correlates of male EPC-success agrees with our recent finding that females improve offspring quality through individual choice of EPC partners with 'compatible genes' rather than 'good genes' in an absolute sense. Our results indicate that experiments where traits are manipulated outside the natural range should be interpreted with caution, and illustrate the importance of a dual approach (experimental and correlative) in studies of sexual selection in the wild.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation