Analysis of genetic parentage in the tawny owl ( Strix aluco ) reveals extra-pair paternity is low

Saladin, Verena ; Ritschard, Mathias ; Roulin, Alexandre ; Bize, Pierre ; Richner, Heinz

In: Journal of Ornithology, 2007, vol. 148, no. 1, p. 113-116

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    We have investigated genetic parentage in a Swiss population of tawny owls (Strix aluco). To this end, we performed genetic analysis for six polymorphic loci of 49 avian microsatellite loci tested for cross-species amplification. We found one extra-pair young out of 137 (0.7%) nestlings in 37 families (2.7%). There was no intra-specific brood parasitism. Our results are in accordance with previous findings for other raptors and owls that genetic monogamy is the rule. Female tawny owls cannot raise offspring without a substantial contribution by their mates. Hence one favoured hypothesis is that high paternal investment in reproduction selects for behaviour that prevents cuckoldry