Female brown-headed cowbirds’ (Molothrus ater)social assortment changes in response to male song:a potential source of public information

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Science Article 5


In many species, females’ behavior appears to be influenced by that of other females, particularly regarding mate choice. Females theoretically can reduce the costs associated with independent male assessment by observing conspecifics. Studies of brown-headed cowbirds suggest that females pay attention to other females’ behavior. Group-housed females modify their song preferences, whereas females housed in pairs do not. What information is available to females in a group environment?

Julie Gros-Louis et al., Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2003) 53:163-173

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