Seasonal variation in dawn song characteristics in the common nightingale

Kunc, H. P. and Amrhein, V. and Naguib, M.. (2005) Seasonal variation in dawn song characteristics in the common nightingale. Animal behaviour, Vol. 70. pp. 1265-1271.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5251745

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Many male temperate zone passerines show a marked peak of singing activity before sunrise. The two main functions of this so-called dawn chorus are mate attraction and territory defence. We examined how seasonal patterns of different dawn song characteristics were related to mating status and to the breeding cycle of females in the common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos. We investigated two measures of song output: song rate and percentage performance time. We also calculated the proportion of 'whistle songs', a song category that is thought to be important in female choice. We predicted that if the main function of dawn singing in nightingales is to attract a social mate, then mated males should change their dawn singing behaviour after pair formation. In contrast, if dawn singing is mainly used in territory defence, we expected no difference in song traits between mated and unmated males throughout the season. We found that song rate and the proportion of whistle songs were low at the beginning of the season and did not predict future mating status. After arrival of females, all measures of dawn song performance remained largely constant throughout the breeding season, and we did not find significant differences in the seasonal variation between mated and unmated males. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that song at dawn is important to defend a territory throughout the breeding season.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Behavioural Ecology (Amrhein)
UniBasel Contributors:Amrhein, Valentin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Academic Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:24
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:41

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