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Multiple mating opportunities boost protandry in a pied flycatcher population

AuthorsCanal, David ; Jovani, Roger ; Potti, Jaime
KeywordsExtra-pair paternity
Ficedula hypoleuca
Mate opportunity hypothesis
Rank advantage hypothesis
Social polygyny
Issue DateJan-2012
CitationBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66:67–76 (2012)
AbstractProtandry, the earlier arrival of males than females to breeding areas, is widespread in birds, but its underlying mechanisms are far from well understood. The two, not mutually exclusive most highly supported hypoth- eses to explain avian protandry postulate that it has evolved from intrasexual male competition to acquire the best territories (“rank advantage” hypothesis) and/or to maxi- mize the number of mates (“mate opportunity” hypothesis). We studied for two consecutive years the relative impor- tance of both hypotheses in a population of pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca), a territorial songbird with a mixed mating strategy. We measured territory quality using a long- term dataset on nest occupation and breeding output, and we used molecular techniques to assess male fitness across the range of social and genetic mating options. Territory quality was unrelated to breeding date and had no influence on extra-pair paternity or social polygynous events. However, males breeding early increased their chances of becoming socially polygynous and/or of attaining extra-pair paternity and, as a consequence, increased their total reproductive success. These results support the “mate opportunity” hypothesis, suggesting that sexual selection is the main mechanism driving protandry in this population
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-011-1253-8
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