Female mate-searching strategies and behavioural correlates of copulation success in lekking long-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis)

Kara-Anne A. Ward, University of Windsor


Mate choice, a complex searching and decision-making process, is relatively understudied. I explore the process of mate choice in lekking long-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis) using video recordings to determine male quality, and a novel radiotracking system to monitor female search behaviour. I report how females may play an important role in the evolution of cooperative display through their choices and behaviours during courtship. I show that females are more likely to copulate at leks with higher attendance and display effort, and more cooperative dance manoeuvres. I also characterize the complex mate searching strategies employed by females. I show that females visit an average of 4.02±0.42 leks when assessing mates, and also revisit higher quality leks multiple times. Overall, my thesis provides insight into mate choice in long-tailed manakins, revealing that females make complex decisions that have important fitness consequences, and that females may also influence the courtship behaviours of males.