Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 24:6 (June 1989), pp. 439–443

doi: 10.1007/BF00293273


Copyright © 1989 Springer-Verlag. Used by permission.


Recent correlational studies of lekking sage grouse suggest that male vocal display attracts females. To test this hypothesis further, the natural displays of a territorial male were supplemented with the tape-recorded display of another reproductively successful individual. Significantly, more females approached the speaker's location on days when the recording was played, and also on nonplayback days immediately following a playback, than on other nonplayback days. Analysis of male displays indicated that females were responding to the playback itself rather than to changes in male behavior. The "after-response" following a playback suggests that some females present during a playback remembered its location and approached on a subsequent lek visit. The results provide necessary support for the epigamic function of vocal display, and suggest ways in which female responses to male display may influence lek structure.