, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 65-70
Date: 14 Sep 2006

Mate preferences in female canaries (Serinus canaria) within a breeding season

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Abstract

Divorce and remating in birds can be described as strategies used to enhance reproductive success. Mate switching often occurs because pairs failed to brood at least one chick during the previous breeding season. In the present study, we evaluated the influence of reproductive success on female preferences in domesticated canaries (Serinus canaria). For that purpose, females previously paired and having reared young were placed in a choice test situation: They were allowed to choose between their previous mate and a familiar male (a male neighbor during the breeding period). During these choice tests, females tended to stay near their previous mate longer than near a male neighbor when their reproductive success was “good” (at least two chicks). On the other hand, females with “poor” reproductive success (one chick) did not show a preference for their previous mate. Furthermore, in the present study, we observed that during choice tests males reacted to the presence of their previous mate in a particular way, by gathering nest material. This behavior was more scarcely observed in neighbor males which, on the contrary, sang significantly more than previous mates did.

Communicated by P. McGregor