Social dominance, male behaviour and mating in mixed-sex flocks of red jungle fowl

Torgeir S. Johnsen, Marlene Zuk, Elizabeth A. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In mixed-sex flocks of red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), both males and females form dominance hierarchies, and male-male aggression and female choice can influence mating success. If females prefer the dominant male, there is no conflict between intra- and intersexual selection. We studied captive flocks consisting of two males and three females. In 1998, dominant males had larger combs than subordinate males in most flocks, while in 1999, comb size did not differ between dominant and subordinate males. The dominant male crowed more and performed more wing flaps than the subordinate male, but both males performed an equal number of tidbits and waltzes. The dominant male obtained more copulations than the subordinate male. When the dominant male had the larger comb, females of all ranks preferred to mate with and associated with the dominant male. When the subordinate male had the larger comb, primary and secondary females mated with the dominant male while tertiary females mated more often with the subordinate male, and female association with a male did not predict mating. Males with large combs are preferred by females and tend to become dominant, but females seem to prefer males with large combs even when these males are subordinate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


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