Your E-mail:
Will your bird get a holiday gift this year?

Printer Friendly

Female Leks Choose Males Based On What Other Females Choose

Some female birds select mates by coping other females' choices.

Robert Alison
Posted: November 11, 2004, 12:00 a.m. PDT

Some female birds select their mates by copying choices of other females rather than using their own judgment. According to biologist Luc-Alain Giraldson of the University of Quebec and colleagues, female bird mate-choice decisions can be non-independent and highly influenced by exposure to other females of the same species using mate-selection criteria that are borrowed. Such a lack of self-confidence in choosing a mate was not previously suspected.

Mate-choice copying has been documented in several avian species already, primarily those that lek. More research is underway. Some female birds select mates entirely on the basis of mate-choice criteria used by other females. Most often, those choices are determined by information revealing genetic quality or attractiveness in males. Such information can, in some cases, cause observer-females to alter their original mate-selection decisions.

When trying to select from among males of similar genetic quality and attractiveness, some female birds regularly engage in mate-copying, apparently to avoid making a wrong selection based on their own criteria. Furthermore, borrowed criteria used in mate selection seem to persist in the avian female memory and are repeatedly used, often in subsequent breeding seasons.

So far, it is not clear why some female birds copy mate selection in other females. It is possible that they somehow judge their own assessment criteria to be flawed.

Ongoing mate-choice copying research stems largely on observation of major biases in male mating success in some lekking species, where females tend to select males on the basis of criteria borrowed from other nearby females.

Preliminary evidence suggests that the frequency of copycat mating in females might be age-related. It might occur most often in younger inexperienced females seeking to establish mental guidelines for choosing the best mate from among a number of alternatives.

 Give us your opinion on
Female Leks Choose Males Based On What Other Females Choose

Submit a Comment or
Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Top Products
BirdChannel Home | Bird Breeders | Bird Species | Related Links | BirdChannel Editors and Contributors
                       | Birds USA |  
Disclaimer: The posts and threads recorded in our message boards do not reflect the opinions of nor are endorsed by I-5 Publishing, LLC nor any of its employees. We are not responsible for the content of these posts and threads.
Copyright ©  I-5 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
Our Privacy Policy has changed. Your California Privacy Right/Privacy Policy
Advertise With Us  |  SiteMap  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use  |  Community Guidelines | Bird eClub Terms
BirdChannel Newsletter Signup | Link to Us | About Us | More Great I-5 Sites
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Become a fan of BirdChannel on Facebook Follow BirdChannel on Twitter
Get social and connect with BirdChannel.

Hi my name's Harry Winston

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!
Information on over 200 critter species