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The Reproductive Behaviour of the Bronze Mannikin, Lonchura Cucullata

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The various phases of the reproductive behaviour of the Bronze Mannikin are described in detail and discussed. This species possesses rather specialised fighting patterns which are different from those of the other Estrildine Finches. In an all-out attack it charges in a frontal-horizontal posture like other species, but in an equally matched bout, the contestants do not adopt the typical sleeked vertical postures of most species, but instead crouch in latero-horizontal postures. When fighting in this position, the far wing is spread and raised vertically both as a balancing device and also as a display. Nesting behaviour is described and the differences between breeding and sleeping nests are discussed. The process of pair-formation is mentioned and it is pointed out that in communal species such as the present one, this is in many respects a negative process; i.e. the narrowing down of social responses from all, to one particular member of the colony. When a male and female are paired, they begin to construct a nest together and a special ceremony takes place repeatedly in the nest cavity. This has evolved from simple nesting patterns, but is now sexual in character and may lead to copulations inside the nest. The typical precopulatory patterns are analysed in detail and it is shown that they contain a number of the ritualised components of the nest ceremony. The latter therefore provides a valuable derivational clue, linking nesting proper with pre-copulatory displays. Other aspects of the male courtship, such as the dancing movements of inverted curtseying and pivoting, can be derived from intention movements of fleeing

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, University of Oxford

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