Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 1127–1139 | Cite as

Maintenance of gene flow by female-biased dispersal of Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix in northern Sweden

  • Carolina CorralesEmail author
  • Jacob Höglund
Original Article


Sex-biased dispersal is a common phenomenon in most birds. In general, males breed at or near their site of birth while most of the females disperse. We investigated the dispersal patterns and genetic structure of lekking Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix based on ten microsatellite loci. Data for 469 individuals from 25 localities spaced from 45 to 558 km apart revealed low levels of genetic differentiation and high connectivity among studied sites due to female-biased dispersal. The spatial distribution of the genetic variation did not follow an isolation by distance pattern neither for females nor for males. STRUCTURE identified three clusters of male individuals but without any geographical pattern. Only one cluster was identified for females. Several tests of sex-biased dispersal were executed. Most of them showed no difference between sexes, but the mean assignment index and F IS showed a statistically significant female-biased dispersal. Therefore, we consider that the northern Swedish Black Grouse population is a panmictic population. The amount of gene flow throughout time has been consistent with dispersal and with no strong effect of forest fragmentation in the region.


Black Grouse Microsatellites Sex-biased dispersal Philopatry 


Aufrechterhaltung des Genflusses durch Ausbreitung weiblicher Birkhühner Tetrao tetris in Nordschweden

Geschlechterunterschiede bei der Auswanderung aus dem Heimatterritorium und Ausbreitung gibt es bei den meisten Vogelarten. Üblicherweise brüten Männchen in der Nähe ihres Geburtsorts, während Weibchen vermehrt abwandern. Wir untersuchten Muster in der Verbreitung und die genetische Struktur im Lek balzender Birkhühner Tetrao tetrix anhand von zehn Mikrosatelliten-Loci. Daten von 469 Individuen aus 25 Gebieten, die zwischen 45 und 558 km voneinander entfernt lagen, zeigten geringe genetische Differenzierung und hohe Konnektivität zwischen den Gebieten, gewährleistet durch die Ausbreitung der Weibchen. Die räumliche Verteilung der genetischen Variation zeigte keine Isolation durch hohe Entfernungen, weder für Männchen noch für Weibchen. Das Programm STRUCTURE fand drei Cluster für männliche Individuen, die nicht mit geographischen Mustern übereinstimmten. Bei Weibchen konnte nur ein Cluster identifiziert werden. Wir führten verschiedene Tests für geschlechtsabhängige Verbreitung durch. Die meisten fanden keinen Unterschied zwischen den Geschlechtern, aber der ‘mean assignment index’ und FIS zeigten signifikant stärkere Ausbreitung der Weibchen. Daraus schließen wir, dass die nordschwedische Birkhuhn Population panmiktisch ist. Der genetische Austausch der Populationen konnte stets durch Verteilung weiblicher Individuen erklärt werden, während die Fragmentierung der Wälder in der Region keinen großen Einfluss gehabt zu haben scheint.



We thank Eleanor Jones and Robert Ekblom for their valuable comments on the manuscript. We are grateful to all hunters who collaborate with the collection of samples. This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council to J.H.; and the Stiftelsen för Zoologisk Forskning to C.C. C.C. has a PhD scholarship from the Fundación COLFUTURO and the AlBan program. This study complies with the current Swedish laws.

Supplementary material

10336_2012_844_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1,892 kb)


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Biology and Conservation Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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