Interaction of testosterone and breeding phase on the reproductive behavior and use of space in male zebra finches

Hill, W. L., Ballard, S. S., Coyer, M. J. and Rowley, T. (2005) Interaction of testosterone and breeding phase on the reproductive behavior and use of space in male zebra finches. Hormones and Behavior, 47(4), pp. 452-458. (doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2004.11.016) (PMID:15777811)

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Abstract

It is well known that androgens play a critical role in mediating the reproductive behavior of males. However, many laboratory experiments that examined the effects of testosterone in male songbirds typically limited their investigations to the early phase of breeding. We sought to determine the influence of testosterone on social behavior, pair bonding, nesting, and use of space in captive zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) males as a function of breeding stage (pre-laying, incubation, and nestling phases). Fourteen males were released into an aviary with 14 females and allowed to breed for 7 weeks. Half of the males were given testosterone implants and half were given control implants. During the pre-laying phase, testosterone-implanted males spent significantly more time in nesting activities than control birds and more time elapsed from starting to build a nest to when their mates initiated egg-laying. During the incubation phase, testosterone-implanted subjects spent significantly more time in female-directed and undirected singing. Use of space varied between hormone conditions depending upon breeding phase: there was no difference during pre-laying, but during the incubation and nestling phases, testosterone-implanted subjects used significantly more space. This significant increase in “home range” during the latter phase of the breeding cycle coincides with results from field studies on other species. These results underscore the importance of considering breeding phase in assessing the behavioral sensitivity to hormones.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Coyer, Dr Megan
Authors: Hill, W. L., Ballard, S. S., Coyer, M. J., and Rowley, T.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Hormones and Behavior
Publisher:Elsevier Inc.
ISSN:0018-506X
ISSN (Online):1095-6867

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