Behavior suggests that Adelaide’s Warblers (<em>Setophaga adelaidae</em>) are not sexually monogamous

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Judith Toms

Abstract: Extra-pair mating behavior has never been reported in Adelaide’s Warblers (Setophaga adelaidae), a socially monogamous bird endemic to Puerto Rico and Vieques. However, during a study of foraging and territorial behavior in Guánica Dry Forest, I observed vocalizations and associated behaviors suggesting that extra-pair copulations occurred in 2010. Males intensely mate-guarded their females, following them at distances of one to a few meters. Both sexes were seen to make extra-territorial forays into neighbors’ territories, and females stopped defending territories against intruding males when their mates were not present. I also documented seven probable extrapair copulations, involving seven of the eight pairs monitored, plus one apparently unpaired male. These observations are consistent with the breeding synchrony hypothesis.


Keywords: Adelaide’s Warbler, Setophaga adelaidae, extra-pair mating, Puerto Rico


Resumen: El comportamiento sugiere que Setophaga adelaide no es sexualmente monógama- La conducta de apareamientos extra-pareja nunca ha sido registrada en Setophaga adelaidae, una especie socialmente monógama y endémica de Puerto Rico y Vieques. Sin embargo, durante un estudio de conducta territorial y forrajeo en el bosque seco de Guánica, observé vocalizaciones y conductas asociadas que sugieren copulaciones extra-pareja ocurridas en 2010. Los machos custodiaban fuertemente a las hembras con las que se habían apareado siguiéndolas a distancia de uno a varios metros. Ambos sexos fueron vistos realizando incursiones extraterritoriales rápidas en los territorios de sus vecinos y las hembras defendiéndolos de los machos intrusos cuando sus parejas no estaban presentes. También documenté siete posibles cópulas extra-pareja que involucraban a siete de las ocho parejas monitoreadas y un macho aparentemente sin pareja. Estas observaciones son consistentes con la hipótesis de la cría sincrónica.


Palabras clave: apareamientos extra-pareja, Puerto Rico, Setophaga adelaidae


Résumé: Des données comportementales semblent indiquer que la Paruline d’Adélaïde (Setophaga adelaidae) n’est pas sexuellement monogame- Les comportements d’accouplement hors couple n’ont jamais été décrits chez la Paruline d’Adélaïde (Setophaga adelaidae), un oiseau monogame endémique à Porto Rico et Vieques. Toutefois, au cours d’une étude sur la recherche de nourriture et le comportement territorial dans la forêt sèche de Guánica en 2010, des vocalisations et des comportements associés ont été notés, suggérant que des copulations hors couples ont eu lieu. Les mâles surveillaient de près leur partenaires, les suivant à une distance allant d’un à quelques mètres. Les deux sexes ont été vus faire des incursions dans les territoires voisins, et les femelles arrêtaient de défendre les territoires vis-à-vis des mâles intrus lorsque leurs partenaires n’étaient pas présents. Sept copulations ayant probablement eu lieu hors couple ont été décrites, impliquant sept des huit couples suivis, ainsi qu’un mâle apparemment non apparié. Ces observations concordent avec l’hypothèse de synchronisation de la reproduction.


Mots clés: Accouplement hors couple, Paruline d’Adélaïde, Porto Rico, Setophaga adelaidae

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