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1 December 2018 Extra-territorial movements by female Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea)
Geoffrey M. Carter, Shawchyi Vorisek, Gary Ritchison
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Current evidence suggests that females in some species of songbirds engage in extra-territorial forays, and that the function(s) of such forays varies among species. We examined the movements and behavior of 16 female Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea) in east-central Kentucky in an attempt to determine the possible function(s) of their extra-territorial forays. We used radiotelemetry to track the movements of 9 females paired with second-year (SY) males and 7 females paired with after-second-year (ASY) males. Radio-tagged female Indigo Buntings spent an average of 38% of their time off their mate's territories, with no difference in time spent off territory between females paired to SY and ASY males. In addition, the mean time that females spent off their social mate's territory did not vary with female fertility status (prefertile, fertile, or post-fertile). Our results suggest that, regardless of age, female Indigo Buntings did not seek to avoid, and may actively pursue, extrapair copulations when away from the territories of their social mates. Because the time spent in extra-territorial forays did not differ with female fertility status, such forays may also be important in providing females with useful information about their local environments and with access to additional foraging sites.

Geoffrey M. Carter, Shawchyi Vorisek, and Gary Ritchison "Extra-territorial movements by female Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea)," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130(4), 1032-1035, (1 December 2018).
Received: 30 September 2017; Accepted: 19 August 2018; Published: 1 December 2018

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