Most female birds have only a left ovary and associated oviduct. The entry to the oviduct is on the left side of the urodeum of the cloaca. This arrangement may favor males that mount females from the left during copulation if it results in sperm being placed closer to the opening of the oviduct. Therefore, we predicted a left-sided directional bias of cloacal contacts during House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) copulations. Cloacal contacts from the left outnumbered those from the right 74 to 25 (3:1) during 25 bouts of copulation at 11 House Sparrow nests. While this pattern suggests that a left-sided bias in mounting by males during copulation may be related to the asymmetry of the female reproductive tract, it also might be related to brain lateralization.
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Vol. 115 • No. 4