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Mate choice in the brown thornbill ( Acanthiza pusilla ): are settlement decisions, divorce and extrapair mating complementary strategies?

Green, David Geoffrey; Krebs, Elizabeth; Cockburn, Andrew

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In socially monogamous birds, females may express mate preferences when they first select a breeding partner, through divorce and subsequent breeding dispersal to a new partner and through extrapair mating. We examined settlement patterns, divorce and breeding dispersal in a sedentary Australian passerine, the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla), in relation to two traits known to influence extrapair paternity (male age and male size). Settlement decisions, divorce and territory switching...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGreen, David Geoffrey
dc.contributor.authorKrebs, Elizabeth
dc.contributor.authorCockburn, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:32:48Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:32:48Z
dc.identifier.issn0340-5443
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/75736
dc.description.abstractIn socially monogamous birds, females may express mate preferences when they first select a breeding partner, through divorce and subsequent breeding dispersal to a new partner and through extrapair mating. We examined settlement patterns, divorce and breeding dispersal in a sedentary Australian passerine, the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla), in relation to two traits known to influence extrapair paternity (male age and male size). Settlement decisions, divorce and territory switching behaviour were all female strategies that reduced their likelihood of breeding with 1-year-old males. Females preferred to settle in territories with 2+ -year-old males, were more likely to divorce 1-year-old males, and only switched territories if they had an opportunity to form a new pair bond with an old male. In contrast, female settlement and divorce decisions were not influenced by male size. Female thornbills obtain a direct benefit from preferring older males as social mates because breeding success improves with male age in brown thornbills. Nevertheless, divorce rates in this species were low (14% of pair bonds were terminated by divorce), and individuals rarely switched territories following the death of a mate. Both of these mating strategies appeared to be primarily constrained by the distance adults moved to initiate a new pair bond (1-2 territories) and by the limited availability of unpaired older males in the immediate neighbourhood.
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourceBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
dc.subjectKeywords: dispersal; divorce; extra-pair copulation; habitat selection; mate choice; monogamy; passerine; Australasia; Australia; Acanthiza; Acanthiza pusilla; Aves; Passeriformes Breeding dispersal; Divorce; Female choice; Monogamy; Natal dispersal
dc.titleMate choice in the brown thornbill ( Acanthiza pusilla ): are settlement decisions, divorce and extrapair mating complementary strategies?
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume55
dc.date.issued2004
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub4769
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGreen, David Geoffrey, Monash University
local.contributor.affiliationKrebs, Elizabeth, Simon Fraser University
local.contributor.affiliationCockburn, Andrew, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage278
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage285
local.identifier.doi10.1007/s00265-003-0679-z
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:10:37Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-0842309430
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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