Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Jul 7;273(1594):1681-8.

Polygyny and its fitness consequences for primary and secondary female pied flycatchers.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Avian Research 'Vogelwarte Helgoland', Working Group Population Ecology, Bauernstrasse 14, 38162 Cremlingen-Weddel, Germany. t.huk@tu-bs.de


In polygynous species with biparental care, the amount of paternal support often varies considerably. In the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), females mated with monogamous males receive more male assistance during the nestling phase than females mated with bigynous males, as the latter have to share their mates with another female. Bigynous males, however, give more support to their primary broods than to their secondary broods. Using a long-term dataset (31 years), the present study revealed that direct reproductive success, i.e. number of fledglings, was lower in females that mated with bigynous males, especially in secondary broods without male assistance, than in females that mated with monogamous males. Secondary broods with male assistance were more affected than primary broods. Female survival was independent of mating status. In primary broods, a delayed compensation for inferior direct reproductive success was found in terms of the number of grandoffspring, a phenomenon that did not occur in secondary broods. Delayed compensation in primary broods refers to indirect effects, i.e. good genes. According to the sexy son hypothesis, genetically superior (i.e. sexy) males may have sons with a higher number of broods belonging to a polygynous breeding status than do sons from broods with a monogamous father. This was indeed the case for sons descending from primary broods, but not for sons descending from secondary broods.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (3)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk