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Vocal interactions in nightingales, Luscinia megarhynchos: more aggressive males have higher pairing success
 

Summary: ARTICLES
Vocal interactions in nightingales, Luscinia megarhynchos:
more aggressive males have higher pairing success
HANSJOERG P. KUNC*, VALENTIN AMRHEIN & MARC NAGUIB*
*Department of Animal Behaviour, University of Bielefeld
yResearch Station Petite Camargue Alsacienne, University of Basel
(Received 8 November 2004; initial acceptance 20 January 2005;
final acceptance 3 August 2005; published online 30 May 2006; MS. number: 8340)
Song overlapping in birds is used and perceived as a signal of aggression, and evidence suggests that eaves-
dropping females base their extrapair mating decisions on the performance of males in vocal contests. In
our study population of nightingales a large proportion of territorial males remain unpaired throughout
the breeding season. A comparison between subsequently mated males and unpaired males may reveal
whether females could use singing performance during vocal interactions in their choice of a social
mate. We investigated how males that differed in their subsequent pairing status overlapped a noninterac-
tive playback during the period of mate attraction, and how males used specific structural song compo-
nents in response to playback. Subsequently mated males overlapped more playback songs than did
males that remained unpaired throughout the breeding season. Males also adjusted the use of specific
song components and decreased song rate during playback, suggesting that the flexible use of structural
song components is more important in vocal contests than increasing song output. Because song overlap-
ping is thought to be a signal of aggression, more aggressive males seem to have greater pairing success.

  

Source: Amrhein, Valentin - Zoologisches Institut, Universitšt Basel

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology