In male passerines, the accumulation of sperm in the sperm reserves causes the cloaca to become enlarged, forming the cloacal protuberance (CP). In Blue Tits, the timing of breeding differs considerably between pairs. Hence, when catching a male during the breeding season it may be unclear whether he is in a reproductively active state (i.e. producing sperm). Here, we show in captive Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus that CP volume is increased in males in a reproductively active state when compared to the same males in a reproductively inactive state. However, there was some overlap in CP volume when comparing the values in reproductively active and non-active states. Measurements of CP volume at a single time point, therefore, do not allow the researcher to reliably determine an individual’s reproductive status.
Schut, E., Magrath, M. J. L., Van Oers, K., & Komdeur, J. (2012). Volume of the cloacal protuberance as an indication of reproductive state in male Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus. Ardea, 100(2), 202-205. https://doi.org/10.5253/078.100.0212