Ornis Hungarica. vol.8-9. (1999) p.13-25.
Mating pattern and mate choice in the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
We investigated the mating behaviour of Lapwings in a Hungarian grassland between 1992 and 1994. 80% of males were monogamous and 20% were polygynous (n=59 males). Polygynous males acquired two females (primary, secondary) that laid one clutch each on the males' territory. Monogamous males, that became polygynous later, spent more time on songflight (7.51.6(s.e.)%) than the ones which remained monogamous (1.60.7%). Polygynous males tended to have more successful nests on their territories (1.00.3) than monogamous males (0.50.1). All females out of 104 had one social mate in a breeding season, except one female mated to two males (sequential polyandry). Secondary females laid their nests 8.41.2 days after the primary females completed their nests and at that time several males were still unmated. We found no indication that secondary females were 'inferior' to monogamous and primary females, because body condition, clutch volume and nest survival were not different among monogamous, primary and secondary females. Our results suggest that polygyny was not forced on females by the lack of unmated territorial males; rather secondary females preferred already mated males to unmated ones.