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Ring Dove Courthsip Ritual Notes

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The courtship ritual of the Ring Dove (Streptopelia risoria) The ring dove was studied by people like Craig and colleagues in early 20th century. Very characteristic call, domesticated form of African collared dove. Studied for many years as breed well in the lab. They are monogamous, have a couple of broods a year and produce 1-2 eggs. Very measurable courtship behaviour and its hormonal basis. Undergo period of nesting and suitable nest is a small glass bowl and straw in the lab. They will incubate for 13-14 days by both parents. Young fledge at 12-14 days and reach sexual maturity at 5-7 months. Characteristic calls that can be measured including an excitatory cry that may cause hormone secretion. They can live for up to 20 years. If partner hasn't died then they will mate for life. Can fly at around 50mph. Aims o o o o

Overview of breeding cycle Sex steroid receptors localisation and changes expression in brain How different hormonal systems influece each other during cycle The role of central oestrogen synthesis (even in males)

Why the ring dove?
o Breed well with stereotypic behaviour o Exhibit patterns of behaviour that do not seem to have degenerated from nondomestic dove (just like the lab rats) o Well studied reproductive behaviour Craig (1909) and Riddle (physiologist) 1937 o Tightly-times hormonal system and behaviour Caring for young

1. Altricial extended periods of nest occupation, sitting on young and warming them, feeding and protecting them from conspecifics and other predators

2. Precocial short initial period of nest occupation and more extended period of care outside the nest where the young feed for themselves but remain close to the parent and follow it. Turkey and chicken have precocial young. RING DOVES ARE ALTRICIAL Lehrman's work on ring doves Remember that guy who criticised ethology. Published a paper on the ring dove. Sequences of reproductive behaviour The major changes in behaviour associated with the different stages of reproductive activity.


1. Sight of the female for a sexually mature male is the catalyst. This stimulus causes the production of gonadatrophins (hormones that affect the reproductive axis), which in turn causes…

2. Elevated levels of androgens cause the first stage of the ritual: aggressive behaviour. Male chases and positions himself close to the female and performs what it called the "bow-coo" dance.

3. Androgen secretion leads to the synthesis of oestrogen in the brain (androgens are converted to oestrogen via aromatase)

4. Oestrogen facilitates the transition from aggressive behaviour into copulation

5. Oestrogen also stimulates bird to engage in nest soliciting (looking for a place to build nest)

6. If fertilisation is successful, eggs will be laid

7. Elevated levels of progesterone drives the incubation of eggs by both partners

8. The action of sitting on the eggs is a stimulus which seems to facilitate production of a hormone prolactin, which is important for stimulating the development of the crop gland, which makes crop milk. This is a positive feedback loop which maintains incubation and milk production.

9. Successful production of crop milks allows the male to feed the squabs (dove chicks). Experience matters - males who have already gone through cycle, when tested with a novel female, the males are more readily able to stimulate the whole cycle. Female

1. Sight of male and the aggressive behaviour he is eliciting can result in the secretion of gonadatrophins and subsequently oestrogen

2. Oestrogen stimulates nest-building and for the female to show more receptivity towards the male's aggressive courtship

3. Also leads to copulation and fertilisation

4. Progesterone also secreted and facilitates onset of incubation

5. Ovulation and fertilisation

6. Just like males, egg-sitting stimulates prolactin (positive feedback loop) which causes the female to produce crop milk for her squabs Sight of male is like a sign stimuli or social releaser. Emphasis on physiological and behavioural changes in the cycle. Implications are that you cannot give a female squabs to feed if they haven't gone through this process as they are not ready physiologically or behaviourally. Fear responses during the cycle Beginning of cycle - first 10 days elevated levels or androgens with aggressive courtship. Behavioural tests on animals can cause fearful reactions. Fear can be measured with a crude model of a rubber spider on a stick. The bird will show characteristic fear response to spider. At 10 days, termination of courtship + laying of eggs = sitting on the eggs, initiated by progesterone and ongoing oestrogen levels. Behavioural tests whilst sitting on nest =

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