Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 211–216 | Cite as

Sexual selection in a monomorphic lek-breeding bird: correlates of male mating success in the great snipe Gallinago media

  • Jacob Höglund
  • Arne Lundberg


In the lek-breeding great snipe, male morphology, behaviour, and territory features were recorded for individually marked birds on two adjacent leks. Partial correlation sshowed that male mating success, expressed as the number of female solicitations and copulations, was negatively correlated with the distance of a display territory to the lek center and positively correlated with the number of displays per unit time given by a male. No other variables were directly correlated with male matin success. Thus, central males obtain more matings than peripheral males and successful males display more per unit time than do less successful males, independently of position on the lek. Central males were found to be older than peripheral ones and were present more often on the lek. Furthermore, central males had a larger number of white tail feathers, which are usea as visual signals in the displays, but this may be explained by the fact that these males were older. It is suggested that male great snipe are subject to sexual selection mainly in behavioural and vocal cues and that this may explain the absence of size and plumage dimorphism in this species.


Partial Correlation Sexual Selection Visual Signal Mating Success Male Mating Success 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Höglund
    • 1
  • Arne Lundberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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