Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 30/3-4 | 1993 | 167-172

  Extra-pair copulations and paternity in the Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus).
Kempenaers, B.

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Article summary

This paper reports on a study of the reproductive behaviour and succes of individual Blue Tits in a colour-ringed population near Antwerp. Males could increase their reproductive succes by pairing with more than one female and thus becoming polygynous, or by engaging in copulations with females paired with other males. Such extrapair copulations (EPCs) were common and a parentage analysis using DNA fingerprinting showed that they can lead to illegitimate offspring. Female Blue Tits actively seek EPCs from certain attractive males. These attractive males received many female visits and survived better than the males that lost paternity. These data suggest that females choose "good genes" for their offspring.