Genetic analyses provide new insight on the mating strategies of the American Black Swift (Cypseloides niger)

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Abstract

Avian mating strategies play a vital role in the demographic and genetic dynamics of a species and understanding avian reproductive tactics is important to conservation, population management and restoration. Classifications of avian mating strategies have historically been based on direct physical observations and tend to be rigid population-level generalizations that overlook the variations inherent in most ecological systems. Based on limited empirical field observations, the American Black Swift Cypseloides niger borealis is considered to be a socially monogamous species with pair bonds lasting for many years. To test this hypothesis, we collected genomic DNA samples from banded swifts from six American Black Swift colonies in the western United States from 2004 to 2019 and isolated and developed primers for highly polymorphic microsatellite loci and used them to genotype our samples. Our parentage analysis revealed that sampled females never mated with the same male in subsequent years, suggesting that they are not sexually monogamous with a single partner for many years as previously hypothesized.

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Gunn, C., Potter, K. M., Fike, J., & Oyler-Mccance, S. (2023). Genetic analyses provide new insight on the mating strategies of the American Black Swift (Cypseloides niger). Ibis, 165(3), 1007–1015. https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.13147

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