Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 373–378 | Cite as

Badge size in the house sparrow Passer domesticus

Effects of intra- and intersexual selection
  • Anders Pape M//oller


I studied female mate choice in house sparrows Passer domesticus in relation to the size of the black throat patch of males (badge size), which is a signal of dominance status, and to territory quality. Males with large badges obtained a mate earlier in spring than males with small badges. Males which remained unmated during the entire breeding season had smaller badges than mated males, even when controlling for the effect of other morphological traits and age. Largebadged males had territories with more breeding sites than small-badged males. Territories defended by males with large badges primarily had hole nest sites, which were safe from predators, and nestlings rarely fell from hole nests. Females were implanted with estradiol to induce copulation solicitation displays. Females responded more strongly to a male taxidermic mount and song than to song alone, and they responded more strongly and frequently to male mounts with large badges. Female house sparrows chose mates on the basis of male badges and perhaps on the basis of the quality of the nesting territories offered.


House Sparrow Female Mate Choice Territory Quality Passer Domesticus Badge Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Pape M//oller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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