1. Intraspecific variation in reproductive decisions is generally considered as a reaction to environmental circumstances. We show that variation in reproductive parameters also covaries with intraspecific variation in personality. 2. During 4 years, we studied reproductive parameters in a natural population of great tits in association with a personality trait: exploratory behaviour as measured in a novel environment. 3. Nest success, fledgling size and condition were all correlated with this personality trait. Slow-exploring females had a higher nest success and largest fledglings. Fledgling condition was affected by the interaction between male and female exploratory behaviour, with assortative pairs at both ends of the behavioural spectrum producing fledglings in best condition. Fast-exploring males bred in nestboxes that produced heavy fledglings in other years. 4. We hypothesize that fast-exploring individuals are better able in defending or obtaining a high quality territory, while slow-exploring individuals are either better parents or have better chicks which may, in part, explain the patterns in reproductive success. We discuss how these patterns in reproduction can explain earlier reported relationships between offspring recruitment and avian personality and may result in the maintenance of intraspecific genetic variation in personality. [KEYWORDS: boldness ; exploration ; fitness ; genetic variation ; personality ; reproduction]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Journal publication date2005

ID: 360088