We explored the consequences of male and female explorative and risk-taking behaviors that are components of a behavioral syndrome, as well as basic demographic and physical characteristics of three measures of reproductive performance in Steller's Jays (Cyanocitta stelleri). Older individuals of both sexes performed slightly better in measures of annual reproductive performance. Age was also positively correlated within pairs. In some years, males in better winter body condition performed better, whereas higher-performing females were in worse condition. Because winter body condition was negatively correlated within pairs, males in better condition possibly enabled their mates to invest more in reproduction in a given year, losing more body mass than low-performing females. Overall, variation in individual male and female traits, especially behavioral traits, explained little of the variation in annual reproductive performance. That age was identified as the single most consistent factor, which was correlated within pairs, suggests that experience and compatibility may be more important than inherent individual traits. By contrast, when examining reproductive performance over multiple years, less explorative and risk-averse males produced more offspring over the 3-year study period; the direction of relationships of the four behavioral traits in the syndrome was highly consistent. This suggests an advantage for linkage of these traits in a syndrome, supporting the hypothesis that the combination of traits in behavioral syndromes may be a target for selection.
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