Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 159, Issue 1, pp 307–309 | Cite as

Male-male pair bonding, nesting and egg incubation in a wild passerine

  • Jennifer Kindel
  • Sarah Legge
  • Olga Milenkaya
  • Jeffrey R. Walters
Short Communication


Examples of nesting behavior between pair-bonded males are exceedingly rare among songbirds. We observed a male same-sex pair bond that resulted in the partial development of one egg while monitoring the breeding activity of a population of wild Crimson Finches (Neochima phaeton) over four breeding seasons. This male–male pair built four nests and incubated two clutches, each with a single egg of unknown origin, with at least one developing partially before failing. This same-sex behavior is unusual among passerines and its origin and evolutionary significance remain poorly understood.


Neochmia phaeton Crimson Finch Same sex Pair bond Social monogamy Mating system 


Männchen-Männchen Paarbindung, Nestbau und Bebrütung bei einem wildlebenden Singvogel Beispiele von Brutverhalten von Männchen-Männchen-Paaren sind bei Singvögeln sehr selten. Während einer vierjährigen brutbiologischen Studie einer wildlebenden Population des Sonnenastrilds ((Neochima phaeton) beobachteten wir ein homosexuelles Paar, das teilweise erfolgreich ein Ei bebrütete. Dieses Männchen-Männchen-Paar baute vier Nester und bebrütete zwei Gelege mit jeweils einem Ei unbekannter Herkunft, von dem sich eines entwickelte, bevor es verloren ging. Homosexuelles Verhalten ist bei Singvögeln ungewöhnlich. Ursprung wie evolutionsbiologische Bedeutung sind wenig verstanden.



This study was funded by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and based at the WildlifeLink Centre for Research and Conservation at Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary. We are grateful to staff at Mornington, field assistants Roy Churchwell and Evan Rehm, and especially Michelle Hall for her examination of the incubated egg. We thank one anonymous reviewer for thoughtful and thorough comments that greatly improved the manuscript. This work was conducted under the ethics permits CAEC/6/2005 and DEC AEC 43/2007. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional regulations and guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Carolina Department of Natural ResourcesUnionUSA
  2. 2.Mornington Wildlife SanctuaryAustralian Wildlife ConservancyDerbyAustralia
  3. 3.National Environmental Science Program Threatened Species Recovery HubUniversity of QueenslandSt Lucia, QueenslandAustralia
  4. 4.Biology DepartmentYoung Harris CollegeYoung HarrisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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