The copulation behaviour of Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) throughout the breeding season

Autor(en): Zollner, T
Stichwörter: brood relief; copulation behaviour; EXTRA-PAIR COPULATIONS; fertile periode; MATING SYSTEMS; Ornithology; pair bond; Zoology
Erscheinungsdatum: 2001
Herausgeber: BLACKWELL WISSENSCHAFTS-VERLAG GMBH
Journal: JOURNAL FUR ORNITHOLOGIE
Volumen: 142
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 144
Seitenende: 155
Zusammenfassung: 
From 1996 to 2000 43 male and 58 female Lapwings were observed from March Ist until June 15th. During 79 full day observations over a total of 1109 hours, 767 copulations were recorded. Viewed over the whole breeding period a copulation took on average 1.7 seconds. The first matings (beginning of March) were registered eight to ten days after the arrival of the female in the male territory; four to six days later egg laying started. The last copulations were still being observed in early June. Matings were observed at all times of the day with peaks in the early morning and late afternoon. By the time the clutch was completed each female lapwing had taken part in 40 to 70 copulations. Frequent copulation may promote pair bonding. Over the complete incubation period the partners copulated on average two to three times a day. 51.5% of copulations occured during brood relief of the male by the female. With an increasing number of brood reliefs the number of male to female reliefs with copulations became more frequent. All in all matings took place on average every fourth brood relief. Over 133 days of observation of an incubating fermale on only 18 days (13.5%) were no copulations at all recorded. Polygamous males kept up contact to all their mates. The copulations finished on the hatching of the chicks. During chick leading or after the loss of chicks, matings started again for a second clutch. No connection was found between the age of a clutch and the frequency of copulations. Extra-pair copulations (EPCs) were not observed. Therefore matings during the incubation period would not appear to serve to prevent the extra-pair fertilization of a replacement or second clutch. Copulations during incubation time seem to be unnecessary to stimulate follicle growth and the germ glandular for a second clutch, because even after several weeks of abstention, an ovulation could be provoked within a few days. Copulations during the breeding period are obviously not connected to their regular function of fertilization. The very large number of copulations may have a communicative function stimulating turn-taking at brooding and helping to stabilize the pair bond, with a positive effect on the breeding success.
ISSN: 00218375

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