Personality shapes pair bonding in a wild bird social system

Josh A. Firth (Corresponding author), Ella F. Cole, Christos C. Ioannou, John L. Quinn, Lucy M. Aplin, A. Culina, Keith McMahon, Ben C. Sheldon

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Mated pair bonds are integral to many animal societies, yet how individual variation in behaviour influences their formation remains largely unknown. In a population of wild great tits (Parus major), we show that personality shapes pair bonding: proactive males formed stronger pre-breeding pair bonds by meeting their future partners sooner and increasing their relationship strength at a faster rate. As a result, proactive males sampled fewer potential mates. Thus, personality may have important implications for social relationship dynamics and emergent social structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1696-1699
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018



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Firth, J. A., Cole, E. F., Ioannou, C. C., Quinn, J. L., Aplin, L. M., Culina, A., McMahon, K., & Sheldon, B. C. (2018). Personality shapes pair bonding in a wild bird social system. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2, 1696-1699.