Skip to main content

Female choice in sage grouse: the roles of attraction and active comparison


Previous studies of female choice in sage grouse Centrocercus urophasianus have implicated both the acoustic quality and repetition rate of the stereotyped strut display as putative cues for female choice. Stages in the choice process at which specific components of male courtship display influence female decisions were investigated using field observations of female pre-mating behavior. Females visited a subset of territorial males and then actively chose one of these as a mate. The order in which males were visited suggested that females searched until an acceptable mate was found, rather than employing a “best-of-n” tactic. Numbers of females visiting a male were related to differences in an acoustical component of display (inter-pop interval) whereas the probability that a visiting female mated was related to display rate (Table 3), indicating that initial attraction and active choice are influenced by different components of display. In addition, inter-pop interval and display rate tended to covary inversely (Fig. 1), suggesting that attraction and active choice may impose conflicting selection pressures on display performance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received: 11 November 1995/Accepted after revision: 16 March 1996

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gibson, R. Female choice in sage grouse: the roles of attraction and active comparison. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 39, 55–59 (1996).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Key words Sexual selection
  • Passive attraction
  • Active choice
  • Constraints
  • Sage grouse