Analysis of genetic parentage in the tawny owl ( Strix aluco ) reveals extra-pair paternity is low

Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) Science Article 5


We have investigated genetic parentage in a Swiss population of tawny owls (Strix aluco). To this end, we performed genetic analysis for six polymorphic loci of 49 avian microsatellite loci tested for cross-species amplification. We found one extra-pair young out of 137 (0.7%) nestlings in 37 families (2.7%). There was no intra-specific brood parasitism. Our results are in accordance with previous findings for other raptors and owls that genetic monogamy is the rule. Female tawny owls cannot raise offspring without a substantial contribution by their mates. Hence one favoured hypothesis is that high paternal investment in reproduction selects for behaviour that prevents cuckoldry.

Verena Saladin, Mathias Ritschard et al., J Ornithol (2007) 148:113-116

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