Proximity between the sexes in ring doves: Social bonds or surveillance?
Most bird species are monogamous, and in many instances the male provides a substantial contribution to the care of the young. Traditionally, the initial phase of the relationship between the sexes has been characterized in terms of pair formation and an increasing bond between the sexes. But recent formulations emphasize the role of guarding, surveillance, and other behavioural devices that protect the genetic relationship of the male to the offspring for which he cares. Ring doves were studied to determine whether the details of the relationship during the initial period are consistent with this latter view. Experiment 1 reveals that males remain in close proximity to their mates until the first egg is laid and the fertile period of the female ends; social contact then falls to a low level. Experiment 2 shows that when the female is removed during her fertile period, the male searches and calls more vigorously than does a female when her partner is absent. Finally, Experiment 3 demonstrates that it is visual contact rather than simply proximity that the male maintains during the fertile period of the female. These observations are consonant with the view that males maintain surveillance over their mates, but they do not exclude the possibility that the behaviour patterns might provide other benefits as well. © 1982.
Lumpkin, S; Kessel, K; Zenone, PG; Erickson, CJ
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