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Bart Kempenaers

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Females of many species copulate more frequently than necessary to fertilize their eggs despite the potential costs. Several studies, particularly on socially monogamous birds, have suggested that females obtain immediate material benefits by trading copulations for nutrients or other resources. We experimentally tested this hypothesis by manipulating the food resources available to prelaying female black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). If female kittiwakes trade copulations for courtship feeding because they need the extra resources, well-fed females (experimental group) should be less willing to copulate compared with females that are more food limited (control group). Contrary to our predictions, we found...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Behavioral Ecology
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Monogamous birds exhibit considerable interspecific variation in rates of mate fidelity between years, but the reasons for this variation are still poorly understood. In a 4-year study carried out in western Alaska, mate-fidelity rates in Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla; mate fidelity was 47% among pairs where at least one mate returned and 94% among pairs where both mates returned) were substantially higher than in Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri; 25 and 67%, respectively), despite the similar breeding biology of these sibling species. Divorce was not a response to nesting failure in Western Sandpipers, and mate change had no effect on the reproductive performance of either species. Nor were mate-fidelity...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Canadian Journal of Zoology
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Females in lek‐breeding species appear to copulate with a small subset of the available males. Such strong directional selection is predicted to decrease additive genetic variance in the preferred male traits, yet females continue to mate selectively, thus generating the lek paradox. In a study of buff‐breasted sandpipers (Tryngites subruficollis), we combine detailed behavioral observations with paternity analyses using single‐locus minisatellite DNA probes to provide the first evidence from a lek‐breeding species that the variance in male reproductive success is much lower than expected. In 17 and 30 broods sampled in two consecutive years, a minimum of 20 and 39 males, respectively, sired offspring. This low...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: American Naturalist
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Extra-pair paternity is common in many socially monogamous passerine birds with biparental care. Thus, males often invest in offspring to which they are not related. Models of optimal parental investment predict that, under certain assumptions, males should lower their investment in response to reduced certainty of paternity. We attempted to reduce certainty of paternity experimentally in two species, the eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis, and the tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, by temporarily removing fertile females on two mornings during egg laying. In both species, experimental males usually attempted to copulate with the female immediately after her reappearance, suggesting that they experienced the absence...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Animal Behaviour
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Buff-breasted sandpipers use a variety of mating tactics to acquire mates, including remaining at a single lek for most of the breeding season, attending multiple leks during the season, displaying solitarily or displaying both on leks and solitarily. We found that differences in body size, body condition, fluctuating asymmetry scores, wing coloration, territory location and behaviour (attraction, solicitation and agonistic) did not explain the observed variation in mating tactics used by males. Which males abandoned versus returned to leks was also not related to morphology or behaviour, and there was no tendency for males to join leks that were larger or smaller than the lek they abandoned. These results suggest...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Animal Behaviour
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