An investigation of mate choice based on manipulation of multiple ornaments in Kentish plovers

A Z Lendvai, J Kis, T Szekely, I C Cuthill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (SciVal)


Many animals have multiple sexual ornaments, a fact variously explained as signalling of multiple attributes, or nonadaptive retention of now redundant, but previously informative, signals. Despite the widespread occurrence of multiple ornaments, and the theoretical interest in how they are maintained by selection, there have been few experimental studies of the phenomenon. We investigated the role of two ornaments, each plausibly signalling different male attributes, in attracting a new mate in the Kentish plover, Charadrius alexandrinus. Previously we have shown that male Kentish plovers vary in how long they take to acquire a new mate, and we hypothesized that this variation may relate to their attractiveness or parental ability. We created single males by removing their mate and clutch, and then manipulated both their badge size (a presumed signal of either their genetic quality or their dominance status and hence defensive abilities) and the length of their flank feathers (a presumed signal of their parental quality in incubation) in a 2 X 2 factorial design. We found no difference in remating times between manipulated and control males. Furthermore, neither body size nor body condition of males was related to their remating times, although males with enlarged badges spent less time fighting than control males. Taken together, our results suggest that female Kentish plovers do not use either badge size or the length of flank feathers as cues in their mate choice decisions. However, badge size may influence male-male competition. (C) 2004 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-709
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

ID number: ISI:000220743400013


Dive into the research topics of 'An investigation of mate choice based on manipulation of multiple ornaments in Kentish plovers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this