Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Females of the lek-breeding great snipe, Gallinago media, prefer males with white tails

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1990
Authors:H, Eriksson, M, Lindell, LErik
Journal:Animal Behaviour
Date Published:1990
ISBN Number:0003-3472
Keywords:Gallinago, Gallinago gallinago, Gallinago media, Scolopacidae
Abstract:The great snipe is an almost monomorphic, lek-breeding bird. One of the characters that differs between the sexes is the amount of white on the tail feathers, males having more white than females. The amount of white also increases with age. In this paper the function of a white tail in intersexual and intrasexual selection is examined. Males with experimentally enlarged white areas on the tails did not enjoy an advantage in male-male competition between territorial birds. This may be because males test each other's fighting ability directly rather than by using morphological cues. On the other hand, females appeared to use the amount of white as a cue in mate choice. It is proposed that females use this cue primarily at short distances.
Short Title:Animal Behaviour
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith