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Testing the function of song-matching in birds: responses of eastern male song sparrows Melospiza
 

Summary: Testing the function of song-matching in birds:
responses of eastern male song sparrows Melospiza
melodia to partial song-matching
Rindy C. Anderson1,3)
, William A. Searcy1)
& Stephen Nowicki2)
(1 Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA; 2 Department of
Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA)
(Accepted: 29 October 2007)
Summary
Song-matching has been hypothesized to be a signal of aggressive intentions whereby match-
ing an opponent signals that the singer is likely to attack. Theory predicts that an aggressive
signal should impose a cost that enforces the signal's reliability. A receiver-dependent cost
imposed by the matched bird's aggressive retaliation has been proposed for song-matching.
We tested for such a cost for partial song-matching in an eastern population of song sparrows
where males lack the shared song types necessary for song type matching, but can perform
partial song-matching using shared song segments. We tested aggressive response, as mea-
sured by average distance to a playback speaker, to partial-matching songs and non-matching
songs. We predicted a stronger aggressive response to partial-matching songs, as has been
shown for whole song-matching in western song sparrow populations. The birds in our study

  

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

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine