Title
Songs differing in consistency elicit differential aggressive response in territorial birds Songs differing in consistency elicit differential aggressive response in territorial birds
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Biology letters / Royal Society [London] - London
Volume/pages
7(2011) :3 , p. 339-342
ISSN
1744-9561
ISI
000290515100007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Acoustic signals during intrasexual interactions may help receivers to establish the cost and benefits of engaging in a confrontation versus avoiding the cost of escalation. Although birdsong repertoires have been previously suggested as providing information during agonistic encounters, the cost (time/neural resources) of assessing large repertoires may decrease the efficiency of the signal for mutual assessment. Acoustic-structural features may, therefore, be used to enable a fast and accurate assessment during this kind of encounters. Recently, it has been suggested that the consistency of songs may play a key role during intrasexual interactions in bird species. Using a playback experiment in a colour-ringed great tit population, we tested the hypothesis that songs differing in consistency may elicit a differential response, indicating that the signal is salient for the receivers. Great tit males clearly responded more aggressively towards highly consistent songs. Our findings, together with previous evidence of increased song consistency with age in the great tit, suggest that song consistency provides information on experience or dominance in this species, and this phenomenon may be more widespread than currently acknowledged.
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