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Studied the relative timing and extent to which male Fringilla coelebs used two alternative paternity guards, frequent copulation and mate guarding by close following. Males guarded their mates strongly, and guarding peaked in intensity on day-2 relative to laying. Male mate guarding intensity varied predictably with the value of the female to the male in three ways: 1) guarding intensity increased from day to day as laying approached, as does the risk of a single EPC fertilizing an egg. 2) Males reduced their level of guarding when their females laid the penultimate egg of the clutch and were therefore no longer fertile. The diurnal pattern of guarding varied with respect to whether laying had begun, which might represent a male response to an "insemination window', when sperm would be less likely to fertilize an egg. Males also copulated frequently with their mates, with a peak rate of 4.4 copulation attempts per hour on day-3 relative to laying, with an estimated total of 207 copulation attempts (83 successful) per clutch. -from Author

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





79 - 97