Field Studies and Physiology : a Correlation in the Field of Avian Reproduction

Article metrics


ELIOT HOWARD,1 in his classical field studies on the behaviour of the warblers, buntings, and other passerine birds, has. pointed out that whereas the male has what we may call two phases of sexual behaviour—neuter and full male—the female has three; for she passes from the neuter phase of winter to full femaleness by way of a partly-sexed phase. During this intermediate phase she seeks out the company of a male, appears interested in various of his advances, and may construct the outer shell of one or several nests. But it is not until the fully-sexed phase that she will solicit or permit coition, or will construct a lining for a nest. The fully-sexed phase begins about 3–6 days before the first egg is laid.


  1. 1

    Eliot Howard, "The British Warblers" (London : Poole, 1914); "Territory in Bird Life" (London: Murray, 1920); "Introduction to Bird Behaviour" (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1930).

  2. 2

    Riddle, O., references in Amer. Philos. Soc. Proc., 66, 497, 1927; Endocrinology, 13, 311; 1929.

  3. 3

    Chomovic, G., Ann. Czechoslovak Acad. Agric., 3 (A), 1; 1928.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

HUXLEY, J. Field Studies and Physiology : a Correlation in the Field of Avian Reproduction. Nature 129, 166 (1932) doi:10.1038/129166a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.