Extra-pair paternity (EPP) is extremely variable among species of birds, both in its frequency and in the behavioral events that produce it. A flood of field studies and comparative analyses has stimulated an array of novel ideas, but the results are limited in several ways. The prevailing view is that EPP is largely the product of a female strategy. We evaluate what is known about the behavioral events leading to EPP and find the justification for this view to be weak. Conflict theory (derived from selection theory) predicts that adaptations in all the players involved will influence the outcome of mating interactions, producing complex and often highly variable patterns of behavior and levels of EPP. Data support some of these predictions, but alternative hypotheses abound. Tests of predictions from conflict theory will require better information on how males and females encounter one another, behave once they have met, and influence fertilization once insemination has occurred.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error