Sex-specific effects of the local social environment on juvenile post-fledging dispersal in great tits

Stephanie P. M. Michler*, Marion Nicolaus, Richard Ubels, Marco van der Velde, Jan Komdeur, Christiaan Both, Joost M. Tinbergen

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

13 Citaten (Scopus)
315 Downloads (Pure)


An individual's decision to disperse from the natal habitat can affect its future fitness prospects. Especially in species with sex-biased dispersal, we expect the cost benefit balance for dispersal to vary according to the social environment (e.g., local sex ratio and density). However, little is known about the social factors affecting dispersal decisions and about the temporal and spatial patterns of the dispersal process. In our study, we investigated experimentally the effects of the social environment on post-fledging dispersal of juvenile great tits by simultaneously manipulating the density and sex ratio of fledglings within forest plots. We expected young females in the post-fledging period mainly to compete for resources related to food and, as they are subordinate to males, we predicted higher female dispersal from male-biased plots. Juvenile males compete for vacant territories already in late summer and autumn; thus, we predicted increased male dispersal from high density and male-biased plots. We found that juvenile females had a higher probability to leave male-biased plots and had dispersed further from male-biased plots in the later post-fledging phase when juvenile males start to become territorial and more aggressive. Juvenile males were least likely to leave male-biased plots and had smallest dispersal distances from female-biased plots early after fledging. The results suggest that the social environment differentially affected the costs and benefits of philopatry for male and female juveniles. The local sex ratio of individuals is thus an important social trait to be considered for understanding sex-specific dispersal processes.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1975-1986
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
StatusPublished - okt.-2011

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