Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Study of Dunnock Mating, The

  • Eduardo S. A. SantosEmail author
  • Shinichi Nakagawa
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2723-1



The study of natural history, behavioral ecology, and evolution of dunnocks, Prunella modularis, with respect to their intriguing mating behaviors.


A mating system is a description of the processes by which males and females acquire mates. Mating systems are generally stable within and among populations of a species. For instance, most avian species could be described as socially monogamous, meaning that males and females form pairs during the breeding season to mate and, occasionally, to raise young together. Within this typical bird population, most individuals would breed as pairs.

At least since the 1950s (Campbell 1952), bird watchers and researchers suspected that a little dull brown bird, the dunnock, Prunella modularis, would hold some surprises about their mating behaviors. But it was not until the 1980s that studies using color-banded individuals (i.e., marked with a unique combination of...


Behavioral Ecology Sexual Conflict Mating Combination Monogamous Pair Polyandrous Female 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BECO do Departamento de ZoologiaInstituto de Biociências, Universidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Evolution & Ecology Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Russell Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IdahoMoscowUSA