Sandra L. Vehrencamp

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In a variety of songbirds the production of trilled song elements is constrained by a performance tradeoff between how fast a bird can repeat trill units (trill rate) and the range of frequencies each unit can span (frequency bandwidth). High-performance trills serve as an assessment signal for females, but little is known about the signal value of vocal(More)
1. Graphical methods are presented for the simultaneous comparisons of group size and territory size (subsumed jointly under the term “social dispersion”), in organisms with exclusive but contiguous territories. The methods are applied to recently published data on five species of neotropical emballonurid bats with particular emphasis on identifying the(More)
Recent experiments in divergent fields of birdsong have revealed that vocal performance is important for reproductive success and under active control by distinct neural circuits. Vocal consistency, the degree to which the spectral properties (e.g. dominant or fundamental frequency) of song elements are produced consistently from rendition to rendition, has(More)
Interpreting receiver responses to on-territory playback of aggressive signals is problematic. One solution is to combine such receiver-perspective experiments with a sender-perspective experiment that allows subjects to demonstrate how their choice of singing strategies is associated with their approach behavior. Here we report the results of a(More)
Many animals repeat standardized displays multiple times while attracting a mate or deterring a rival. In such contexts it is possible that the ability to perform each display or signal type in a consistent fashion is under direct selection. Studies on sexual selection on song learning in birds have focused on differences in repertoire size with less(More)
Older males tend to have a competitive advantage over younger males in sexual selection. Therefore, it is expected that signals used in sexual selection change with age. Although song repertoire size in songbirds is often mentioned as an age-related trait, many species, including the banded wren (Thryothorus pleurostictus), do not increase their repertoires(More)
Song-type matching is a singing strategy found in some oscine songbirds with repertoires of song types and at least partial sharing of song types between males. Males reply to the song of a rival male by subsequently singing the same song type. For type matching to serve as an effective long-distance threat signal, it must be backed up by some probability(More)
We tested the signal value of song overlapping in banded wrens (Thryothorus pleurostictus), using interactive playback to either overlap or alternate with their songs. Males shortened song duration and decreased variability in song length when their songs were overlapped by playback, suggesting that they were attempting to avoid being overlapped and perhaps(More)
Conventional signals impose costs on senders through receiver retaliation rather than through investment in signal production. While several visual conventional signals have been described (mainly 'badges of status'), acoustic examples are rare; however, several aspects of repertoire use in songbirds are potential candidates. We performed interactive(More)
Climatic variability and unpredictability affect the distribution and abundance of resources and the timing and duration of breeding opportunities. In vertebrates, climatic variability selects for enhanced cognition when organisms compensate for environmental changes through learning and innovation. This hypothesis is supported by larger brain sizes, higher(More)