Are female red-winged blackbirds territorial?

William A. Searcy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Spacing behaviour of female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) was observed to determine whether resident females within a herem divide their mate's territory into sub-territories. Some results accorded with defence of sub-territories: (1) females were more aggressive (towards decoys and mounts) close to their own nests than further away; and (2) there was little overlap in the use of space betwee residents on a male's territory. Other results did not accord with defence of sub-territories: (1) when the nest site was eliminated from the analysis, spatial overlaps were large; (2) areas defended through aggression by different females overlapped greatly; and (3) areas defended through advertisement by different females overlapped greatly. I conclude that the spacing behaviour of female red-winged blackbirds does not meet a strict difinition of territoriality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1391
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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