Mate preference does not influence reproductive motivation and parental cooperation in female zebra finches

Ákos Pogány, Zita Szurovecz, Erno Vincze, Zoltán Barta, Tamás Székely

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6 Citations (SciVal)


In socially monogamous species, low availability of sexually active unpaired individuals in the local population may constrain mate choice, resulting in mating with sub-optimal partners. Here we experimentally investigate whether female reproductive behaviour is different when paired with a preferred or a non-preferred male in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). First, we assessed female mating preferences using a four-way choice apparatus, then females were caged together with either their preferred or least-preferred male. Female reproductive motivation, assessed by the propensity of laying eggs within two weeks from pairing and clutch mass, did not differ between the two experimental groups. Females responded to mate removal by either increasing their care, so as to compensate for the lost care of their mate, or by significantly reducing incubation. This bimodal response was not explained by mate preference, nevertheless, we found that females with lower baseline (i.e., pre-manipulation) incubation effort were more likely to cease incubation during mate removal. Taken together, we found no evidence that female reproductive behaviour varies along with mate preference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1885-1901
Number of pages17
Issue number12-13
Early online date1 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • biparental care
  • mate preference
  • mate removal
  • parental cooperation
  • partner compensation
  • sexual conflict
  • Taeniopygia guttata
  • zebra finch


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