Average-looking female sparrows find good-looking mates ‘out of their league’August 27th, 2010 - 1:02 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Aug 27 (ANI): Female house sparrows that are mediocre in the looks department prefer choosing average looking male sparrows for mating, rather than the attractive ones, says a new study.
Researchers from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology in Vienna, Matteo Griggio and Herbert Hoi have found that unattractive females dare not dream of mating with males who are considered out of their league.
The research team randomly divided ninety-six male house sparrows in to two groups - those with an artificially enlarged black throat patch and those with an average patch.
In sparrow society, males who have a large patch of dark-coloured feathers on the chest - the “bib” or “badge” - are considered the most attractive, and the bigger, the better.
“Actually, we found that overall, female sparrows don’t have a preference for badge size in males”, Griggio explained, “but we did find that less attractive females - those with a low weight and poor condition - have a clear preference for less attractive males with smaller or average-sized badges.”
And they would rather settle for a not-so-great-looking mate rather than no mate.
“There is some good news for the plainer females though - while they may be forced to settle for less dominant males with small chest badges, these males have been shown to invest more time in parental care than their good-looking counterparts,” he added.
The study is published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. (ANI)
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