Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Animal Behaviour 52:5 (November 1996), pp. 993–1005

doi: 10.1006/anbe.1996.0247


Copyright © 1996 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour; published by Elsevier. Used by permission.


Recent analyses of avian leks have come to conflicting conclusions concerning the role of male settlement on female traffic hotspots. This issue was re-examined in the sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus, using data on prenesting movements of radio-tagged females and the dispersion of lekking males collected during a 10-year field study. As expected with hotspot settlement, leks were preferentially located in areas through which females traveled between wintering and nesting ranges before mating. In addition, the distribution of males among leks was related proximately to variation in numbers of females visiting each lek during the mating period and ultimately to numbers that nested within a 2-km radius, within which nesting hens were preferentially attracted. The results show both that hotspot settlement can explain certain coarse scale features of male dispersion, and that female behavior during different stages of the prenesting period may influence particular components of male dispersion to differing extents.