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Israel Journal of Zoology
  Issue:  Volume 47, Number 3 / 2001
  Pages:  275 - 286
  URL:  Linking Options

TERRITORIALITY AND MATE GUARDING IN THE ORANGE-TUFTED SUNBIRD (NECTARINIA OSEA)

RONIT ZILBERMAN A1, BOAZ MOAV A1, YORAM YOM-TOV A1

A1 Zoology Department, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

Abstract:

Territorial behavior of the orange-tufted sunbird (Nectarinia osea Bonaparte) was studied in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Both male and female orange-tufted sunbirds occupied and guarded their territory throughout the year, but did so at different intensities in relation to season and fertility stages. When they were in the territory, both sexes spent most of their time at its center, and more so during the breeding season. Throughout the year, males tended to perch in exposed locations, while females spent 90% of their time in concealed locations. Males were also much more vocal than females, and during the breeding season they sang from high places, which females never did. It is suggested that occupying a territory during autumn may increase the chances of the territory’s owners continuing to occupy it during the breeding season.

Territories were also defended and advertised during the breeding season, with the female fertility stage having a significant effect on the behavior of her male partner, whose presence in the territory and occupancy of its center and exposed locations reached their peak. Male vocality, particularly singing rate, also reached its peak during the fertility stage, and decreased thereafter. These behaviors may indicate that during the pre-fertility and fertility stages, males guard their females, presumably in an attempt to prevent extra-pair copulations. On the other hand, the distance between male and female did not change in relation to the female fertility stage, and when resident males were removed, intrusion by non-resident females was higher than by males. These results suggest that territorial behavior during the breeding season functions to defend territory against male and female floaters.


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