SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Sexual selection arises when variance in male reproductive success is non-randomly related to phenotypic characters of males. Song can be considered as such a phenotypic character and several studies have shown that song complexity and/or song output are important in competition among males or in partner choice. In the blue tit Parus caeruleus a peak in male singing activity occurs at dawn during the female fertile period, i.e. after pair formation. The function of this dawn chorus is not well understood. In this study 20 male blue tits were recorded at dawn and song complexity and output were expressed as versatility, mean strophe length, mean percentage performance time and bouts with or without drift, i.e. with or without a systematic decline in percentage performance time. Females mated to males with a higher mean percentage performance time (output) and a higher versatility (complexity) started to lay eggs earlier, but the latter was not significant. Females mated to males that showed no drift in their song bouts laid significantly larger clutches. Our results thus suggest that in the blue tit, song output at dawn, rather than song complexity, might be a trait under sexual selection.