Female mate choice in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Summary

We have examined male and territorial factors which might influence female mate choice in the Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Mating success of males was largely determined by the order of arrival on the breeding grounds. Females actively selected those males that had been longest in the area. This is likely to be due to territorial cues, early males having the best territories. About 15% of the males become polygynous, and these are the males that arrived earliest.

Male age was relatively unimportant for breeding success, but because old males tend to arrive earlier than yearlings, most polygynous males were old. On average, old males are somewhat darker than young males, but male colour also varies within males of the same age. Polygynous and monogamous males did not differ significantly in colour, and female breeding success was not correlated with the colour of their mates. We show theoretically that it does not pay for females to select young males to avoid polygyny unless polygyny frequency or the number of reliable monogamous males almost double. Hence our hypothesis of polygyny-by-deceit in the Pied Flycatcher remains realistic. Because of male polyterritoriality, females are unaware of the males' status when mating.

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Alatalo, R.V., Lundberg, A. & Ståhlbrandt, K. Female mate choice in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca . Behav Ecol Sociobiol 14, 253–261 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00299496

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Keywords

  • Mate Choice
  • Young Male
  • Female Mate
  • Mating Success
  • Breeding Success