acta ethologica

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 89–97 | Cite as

Male ornamentation and within-pair paternity are not associated with male provisioning rates in scarlet rosefinches Carpodacus erythrinus

  • Jan Schnitzer
  • Alice Exnerová
  • Radka Poláková
  • Michal Vinkler
  • Oldřich Tomášek
  • Pavel Munclinger
  • Tomáš Albrecht
Original Article


As proposed by the ‘good parent model’ for evolution of secondary male ornamentation, secondary ornaments may signal male provisioning rates and, therefore, direct benefit to females. On the other hand, male parental care intensity can potentially be affected by the occurrence of extra-pair offspring in its nest. According to ‘parental investment theory’, males that lose paternity in their nests should reduce their parental care. In this study, we analyse potential relationships between intensity of parental care, male ornamentation, the occurrence of extra-pair paternity and male extra-pair fertilisation success in the scarlet rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus. Our results based on 50 observed nests indicate no effect of paternity loss on the rate of food provisioning to nestlings in scarlet rosefinches. Simultaneously, we found no evidence for an association between male ornamentation and male provisioning rates. The only male trait associated with provisioning was the ability to sire extra-pair offspring. Our data indicate that direct selection against female promiscuity is weak or absent in rosefinches.


Carotenoid-based ornamentation Extra-pair paternity Feeding effort Parental care 



The authors thank Lubor Červa, Jaroslav Jelínek, Martin Lundák and Františk Zicha for the help in the field and Kevin Roche for helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was supported by the Grant Agency of Charles University (project 191/2004/B-Bio), the Czech Science Foundation (project GACR P506/12/2472), the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (project MSMT no. 0021620828), the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (project nos. AV0Z60930519 and IAA600930608) and project SVV-2013-267201. TA, PM and JS were partially supported by Research Centrum Project LC06073. The authors thank the staff of the Šumava Mountains National Park.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ISPA 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Schnitzer
    • 1
  • Alice Exnerová
    • 1
  • Radka Poláková
    • 2
  • Michal Vinkler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oldřich Tomášek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pavel Munclinger
    • 1
  • Tomáš Albrecht
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Vertebrate Biology, v.v.i.Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic

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