Pair interactions in red-faced warblers
Forty pairs of breeding Red-faced Warblers (Cardellina rubrifrons) were observed in 1992 and 1993 on the Mogollon Rim, Arizona. Intrusions by extra-pair males, interactions between pair members, and other pair interaction behaviors were recorded. The majority of intrusions occurred during the building stage of the nesting cycle. Males responded to intrusions during nest building by decreasing intra-pair distance. Males maintained shorter intra-pair distances by following the female when she initiated movements and by not initiating pair movements themselves. Intra-pair distances were as short or shorter during the incubation period as during nest building, and were shorter during incubation than during egg laying. Males continued to follow females beyond the expected fertile period. Possible explanations for continued mate following include: males guard their mates against predators, males guard their paternity for future nesting attempts, and males respond to extra-pair male intrusions, which continue during incubation.