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Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2006) 60: 234241 DOI 10.1007/s00265-006-0161-9

Summary: Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2006) 60: 234241
DOI 10.1007/s00265-006-0161-9
William A. Searcy . Rindy C. Anderson .
Stephen Nowicki
Bird song as a signal of aggressive intent
Received: 25 August 2005 / Revised: 25 November 2005 / Accepted: 9 January 2006 / Published online: 24 February 2006
# Springer-Verlag 2006
Abstract A central question in animal communication
research concerns the reliability of animal signals. The
question is particularly relevant to aggressive communica-
tion, where there often may be advantages to signaling an
exaggerated likelihood of attack. We tested whether ag-
gressive signals are indeed reliable signals of attack in song
sparrows (Melospiza melodia). We elicited aggressive sig-
naling using a 1-min playback on a male's territory,
recorded the behavior of the male for 5 min, and then gave
him the opportunity to attack a taxidermic mount of a song
sparrow associated with further playback. Twenty subjects
attacked the mount and 75 did not. Distance to the speaker


Source: Anderson, Rindy C. - Department of Biology, Duke University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine