Female survival, lifetime reproductive success and mating status in a passerine bird

László Zsolt Garamszegi, Jânos Török, Gábor Michl, Anders Pape Møller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


In facultatively polygynous birds, secondary females of polygynously mated males typically have reduced annual reproductive success, because polygynous males provide less paternal care than monogamous males. Life history theory predicts that, as a result of increased reproductive investment, secondary females should suffer from reduced survival and lifetime reproductive success, but previous studies provided only weak support for this hypothesis. We used 7 years of data to study the fitness of female collared flycatchers Ficedula albicollis in relation to mating status by estimating survival and lifetime reproductive success. Taking differences in recapture probability into account, a mark-recapture analysis revealed that females observed at least once to breed as secondary female had higher survival than other females. This relationship was not confounded by laying date, because when we assessed the impact of laying date on survival, we found similar survival patterns. Females of polygynous males had reduced breeding success in terms of number of young fledged during the current reproductive event. However, during their lifetime females found at least once in primary or secondary mating status produced significantly more eggs, and at least the same number of fledglings and recruits as monogamous females. Thus, in the collared flycatcher, females of polygynously mated males seem to suffer from mating status during the most recent reproductive event, but considering survival and lifetime reproductive success, the apparently disadvantageous mating event is not necessarily associated with reduced residual reproductive value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Collared flycatcher
  • Fitness
  • Mark-recapture analysis
  • Polygyny
  • Secondary female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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