, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 249-254

Singing performance, frequency matching and courtship success of long-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis)

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Abstract

We examined the relationship between song performance and courtship success in the lek-mating long-tailed manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis) of Costa Rica. Teams of male manakins form cooperative partnerships consisting of a dominant alpha male and a beta male partner with a variable number of subordinate affiliates. Each alpha and beta partnership performs a joint song virtually in unison, which attracts females to their lek arena. We quantified four aspects of song performance, including synchrony, degree of consistency in the alpha male's singing, degree of consistency in the beta male's singing, and degree of sound frequency matching between partners. When all four variables were included in a discriminant function analysis, average frequency matching alone was useful in discriminating between teams with high rates of visitation by females and those with low visitation rates. Only frequency matching was correlated with the rate at which females visited display lek arenas. We propose that the degree of frequency matching provides an unambiguous ideal against which dual-male courtship performance can be assessed. This aspect of song performance may provide information useful to females in assesing a potential mate's ability to form a cooperative long-term partnership.

Communicated by R. Gibson