Genetic monogamy in the Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
- 509 Downloads
Extrapair paternity seems to be common in socially monogamous passerines, but the genetic mating system of most species is currently unknown. Here, we report the first study of paternity in the socially monogamous Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). We found no evidence of extrapair paternity among 96 offspring in 34 examined broods. An upper 95% confidence limit of 3.1% suggests that extrapair fertilizations were truly infrequent in our study population. Common Crossbills thus seem to represent an exception to the rule of extrapair mating among socially monogamous passerine bird species. A potentially important selective pressure preventing promiscuity in Common Crossbills is the harsh environmental conditions experienced during breeding at wintertime, which may increase the importance of paternal care and limit the time available for seeking extrapair copulations.
KeywordsExtrapair paternity Genetic monogamy Loxia curvirostra Microsatellites Sperm competition
The authors are grateful to Johnny Steen for assistance with the fieldwork. This study was supported by a grant from the Research Council of Norway (Project no. 170853/V40) and licenses to collect the birds were issued by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (permits no. 94/2641 and 2006/9231).
- Cramp S, Perrins CM (1994) Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: the birds of the western Palearctic. In: The birds of the western Palearctic, vol 8: crows to finches. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Gowaty PA (1996) Battles of the sexes and origins of monogamy. In: Black JM (ed) Partnerships in birds: the study of monogamy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 21–52Google Scholar
- Rohlf FJ, Sokal RR (1981) Statistical tables, 2nd edn. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- Wink M, Dyrcz A (1999) Mating systems in birds: a review of molecular studies. Acta Ornithol 34:91–109Google Scholar