Personality assortative female mating preferences in a songbird

Ákos Pogány, Ernö Vincze, Zita Szurovecz, András Kosztolányi, Zoltán Barta, Tamás Székely, Katharina Riebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Consistent individual behavioural differences ('animal personalities') are documented across a variety of animal taxa. Sexual selection, especially assortative mating has been suggested as a possible mechanism contributing to the maintenance of different personality types within populations but little is known about non-random pair-formation with respect to personality traits in unconstrained choice tests. We here tested whether female mating preferences were non-random with respect to male and female neophobia in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), an important avian model of mate choice and animal personality research. Male and female neophobia was assessed by attaching novel objects to birds' feeders. Females' mating preferences were tested with randomly assigned, unfamiliar males in a four-way choice apparatus. Females associated most with males with neophobia scores similar to their own. These results provide evidence that mating preferences and personality traits can covary, supporting evolutionary scenarios of assortative mating contributing to the maintenance of personality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-503
Number of pages23
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • assortative mating
  • boldness
  • mate preference
  • neophobia
  • novel object
  • personality
  • sexual selection
  • zebra finch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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