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Female Attraction Behaviour of Radio Tagged Polyterritorial Pied Flycatcher Males

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Polygynous mating is costly for pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) females. Thus, females have a good reason to attempt to avoid mating with already mated polyterritorial males. One cue to disclose a male's mating status is his behaviour. The behaviour of polyterritorial and unmated males was studied by radio tagging that allows accurate recording of male movements. While attracting a secondary female polyterritorial males spent significantly less time on the secondary territory than did unmated males on their single territory. Polyterritorial males also tended to have lower song rates. When a female appeared on the secondary territory of polyterritorial males, they increased the proportion of time spent there, and as a result the difference between polyterritorial and unmated males was not significant. A female might potentially be able to estimate a male's mating status on basis of male presence at the territory, but only if she does not reveal herself. Still, the variation and overlap in male behaviour between mating categories may make it difficult for her to obtain reliable information about the mating status of a male.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biology, University of Jyväskylä, Yliopistonkatu 9, SF-40100 Jyväskylä, Finland


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