Translator Disclaimer
1 September 2003 A FIELD STUDY OF ORNAMENTS, BODY SIZE, AND MATING BEHAVIOR OF THE GAMBEL'S QUAIL
JULIE C. HAGELIN
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Male Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii) have strikingly ornate plumage. Yet, captive experiments indicate that removing multiple ornaments does not necessarily alter patterns of female mate choice or male-male competition. To test these unexpected results, I observed a wild population of banded quail for three seasons to determine ornamental and body size traits associated with pairing date and winners of male contests. I also documented mating behaviors (e.g., pairing date, mate fidelity, brood size). Consistent with captive studies, male mass, rather than ornate plumage, was the primary feature related to winners of male contests and early pairing. Heavier males paired earlier, regardless of age, but did not exhibit significantly larger ornaments. Adults of both sexes were heavier and paired earlier than yearlings. Early pairing also correlated positively with brood size, suggesting that heavy, early nesting birds experienced greater fitness. Mating behaviors were flexible across seasons. Social monogamy decreased from 83% in 1996 to 30% in 1998, while polygamy (sequential, long term pairings) increased, particularly among yearlings and adult males. Adult females were equally likely to exhibit social monogamy or polygamy each season. They also exhibited the highest frequency of early pairing and the greatest keel scores (a general measure of condition), suggesting their capacity for breeding was high. At least two adult females abandoned their first mate after hatching and re-paired, in an apparent attempt to double brood.

JULIE C. HAGELIN "A FIELD STUDY OF ORNAMENTS, BODY SIZE, AND MATING BEHAVIOR OF THE GAMBEL'S QUAIL," The Wilson Bulletin 115(3), 246-257, (1 September 2003). https://doi.org/10.1676/02-089MP
Received: 31 August 2002; Accepted: 1 February 2003; Published: 1 September 2003
JOURNAL ARTICLE
12 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top