Social feedback and attractiveness in zebra finches

Royle, Nick and Pike, Thomas (2010) Social feedback and attractiveness in zebra finches. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64 (12). pp. 2015-2020. ISSN 0340-5443

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-010-1013-1

Abstract

The attractiveness of an individual (i.e. its ability to arouse interest in a potential mate) has important implications for its reproductive success. However, attractiveness is not a fixed trait. Previous work has shown that male birds can adjust the intensity of their courtship display in response to variation in female behaviour, but little is known about how males adjust their behaviour during mate choice in response to social feedback about their own attractiveness independent of their intrinsic quality. Such information may help to maximize the potential mating success of males. Here, we provide experimental evidence that the amount of attention given by male zebra finches to females is dependent upon the manipulated attractiveness of males. This demonstrates that, in this socially monogamous species of bird, attractiveness of males could be considered to be a social construct, at least partially determined via social feedback from females.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The attractiveness of an individual (i.e. its ability to arouse interest in a potential mate) has important implications for its reproductive success. However, attractiveness is not a fixed trait. Previous work has shown that male birds can adjust the intensity of their courtship display in response to variation in female behaviour, but little is known about how males adjust their behaviour during mate choice in response to social feedback about their own attractiveness independent of their intrinsic quality. Such information may help to maximize the potential mating success of males. Here, we provide experimental evidence that the amount of attention given by male zebra finches to females is dependent upon the manipulated attractiveness of males. This demonstrates that, in this socially monogamous species of bird, attractiveness of males could be considered to be a social construct, at least partially determined via social feedback from females.
Keywords:Attractiveness, Mate choice, Monogamy, Social behaviour, Zebra finch
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:4410
Deposited By: Tom Pike
Deposited On:13 Apr 2011 15:13
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:59

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