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Social dominance correlates and family status in wintering dark-bellied brent geese, Branta bernicla bernicla

Abstract : In many gregarious species, including ducks and geese, being dominant provides more benefits than costs, because dominants have better access to resources essential for survival or reproduction. In geese, being in better body condition during migration towards the breeding grounds positively influences reproductive success. However, underlying proximate mechanisms linking prebreeding body condition on the wintering grounds to breeding success remain poorly understood. We investigated social dominance correlates and family status, in three consecutive winters, in a free-ranging, migrating, dark-bellied brent goose population. Families with juveniles dominated pairs, and pairs dominated singletons. Dominance rank did not increase with the number of juveniles per family. Males were dominant over females. Social dominance and reproductive status for a given winter were significantly correlated with body mass, body size and body condition during the previous winter, suggesting that body condition in winter also affects subsequent breeding success and hence also dominance. Levels of testosterone and triiodothyronine were not correlated with immediate or later dominance or reproductive status. We discuss the role of family status as a signal of social status in determining reproductive strategies.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00184579
Contributor : Delphine Bonnet <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - 1:59:59 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 3:41:38 AM

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Maud Poisbleau, Hervé Fritz, Marion Valeix, Pierre-Yves Perroi, Sébastien Dalloyau, et al.. Social dominance correlates and family status in wintering dark-bellied brent geese, Branta bernicla bernicla. Animal Behaviour, Elsevier Masson, 2006, 71 (6), pp.1351-1358. ⟨10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.09.014⟩. ⟨hal-00184579⟩

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