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.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.