aerobatic components in the song-flight display of male Lapwings Vanellus vanellus as cues in female choice.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) Science Article 4


The song-flight of male Lapwings was studied on a farmland area in western Norway in a population with a high incidence of polygyny. On the basis of video recordings individual performance of song-flight display was scored and correlated against attractiveness. The males were rated by their performance of presumed energetically and technically demanding components that resembled competitive- and nest defence behaviour. Performance of an energetically demanding song-flight component resembling aggressive chasing, the roll angle in the Alternating Flight (AF), was found to predict the number of mates the males attained and, when one outlier was removed, laying date as well. Performance of this song-flight component varied significantly between individual males, and it correlated positively with density of food on the territories. Food per se on the territory, or territory size, did not predict male attractiveness. It is suggested that performance of the AF rolls might signal male competitive- and nest defence qualities, and that the relatively larger wing area in males than in females might be selective responses to female mate choice favouring manoeuverability.

Gronstol G.B. (1996), ARDEA 84 (1): 45-55.

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