Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 367–372

Correlates of male mating success in the ruff Philomachus pugnax, a lekking shorebird

  • Wendy L. Hill

DOI: 10.1007/BF00165962

Cite this article as:
Hill, W.L. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1991) 29: 367. doi:10.1007/BF00165962


Male ruffs (Philomachus pugnax), a lekking shorebird, can generally be divided into two morphs according to behavior and plumage coloration. Predominantly dark-colored, “independent” male ruffs defend small territories on a lek, whereas lighter colored “satellite” males are non-territorial and less site-faithful to a particular lek. The traits associated with the mating success of independent male ruffs were studied at two leks during two seasons on the island of Öland, Sweden in May and June of 1985 and 1987. Using multivariate analyses, three characteristics were found to be significantly related to mating success: high frequency of visits by satellites to an independent male's residence, consistency of lek attendance, and low rates of aggressive behavior. In contrast, mating success was unrelated to the degree of darkness of the independent male nuptial plumage, territory location on the lek, or rate of courtship displays. The use of multivariate analyses helped to resolve conflicting conclusions from previous studies which employed simple statistical analyses, or none at all. Experimental manipulations are suggested which will help to further determine the influence of female mate choice in this lekking system.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy L. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLafayette CollegeEastonUSA