Females prefer extra-pair males that are older and better hunters

European Journal of Ecology, 2015, 1(1), pp. 26-31

Age of male is an important cue in mate selection, including extra-pair copulations #EPC; different phenotypic and behavioural traits are known to be age related. Paternity studies show that older males predominate as fathers of extra-pair young.

It remains unclear if females actively choose older males because they possess high quality traits or because older males are more successful in coercing fertile females. Authors experimentally provided mounted males of different age (yearling vs. adult) of great grey shrike Lanius excubitor with nuptial gifts of different quality (vole vs. cricket) and observed reactions of females and their social partners. 

Hromada, M., Antczak, M. & Tryjanowski, P. (2015). Females prefer extra-pair males that are older and better hunters. European Journal of Ecology, 1(1), pp. 26-31. doi:10.1515/eje-2015-0004

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Great grey #shrike females strongly preferred older males with energy-rich nuptial gifts. Males responded to the reaction of their mates; male aggressive behaviour increased when their mate showed an interest in an intruder.

Field vole impaled by great grey shrike Lanius excubitor. Credit: authors