Female behaviour is differentially associated with specific components of multimodal courtship in ring doves

Clementine Mitoyen, Cliodhna Quigley, Thibault Boehly, Leonida Fusani

Courtship displays are typically conspicuous, elaborate and composed of concomitant signals occurring in different sensory modalities. Although multimodal signals have received increasing attention over the past years, technical issues, in particular the lack of appropriate recording and analytical methods, have long restricted large-scale systematic study of their function. Here, we investigated in detail in 100 male-female dyads whether the multimodal, audiovisual courtship signals of the male ring dove, Streptopelia risoria, are associated with different immediate behavioural responses by the female, and whether such responses depend on the courting individual. We used synchronized high-speed video and audio recordings followed by semiautomatic image- and audio-processing techniques to precisely quantify variation in male courtship and female response. In particular, we investigated the structure of acoustic and visual courtship components, as well as aspects related to multimodal synchronization. We found that the fundamental frequency of male calls, as well as the total courtship duration and the duration of courtship bouts, influenced female tail-quivering behaviour, confirming that this behaviour is a sign of sexual interest in doves. On the other hand, some courtship variables frequently investigated in the literature, such as courtship rate, did not affect any aspect of female response. Additionally, we demonstrated an effect of repeated encounters with an individual of the opposite sex both on male courtship variables and on female sexual response to courtship. Females also responded differently to different males, that is, we found variation in female behavioural response to courtship variables related to identity and courtship effort. Further empirical studies are needed to assess how different male courtship elements influence female behaviour and ultimate mating decisions. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology, Vienna Cognitive Science Hub
External organisation(s)
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Animal Behaviour
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106051 Behavioural biology
Portal url