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)
11 Ballentine, B. 2009. The ability to perform physically challenging songs predicts age and size in male swamp sparrows, Melospiza georgiana. Animal Behaviour 77: 973–978.
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)
Using the responses of territory owners to playback to infer the territorial function of acoustic signals is common practice. However, difficulties with interpreting the results of such experiments have obscured our understanding of territorial signalling. For instance, a stronger response to playback is often interpreted as more aggressive, but there is no… (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)
In many tropical animals, male and female breeding partners combine their songs to produce vocal duets [1-5]. Duets are often so highly coordinated that human listeners mistake them for the songs of a single animal . Behavioral ecologists rank duets among the most complex vocal performances in the animal kingdom [7, 8]. Despite much research, the… (More)
We studied the use of song types and their acoustic features in different social contexts in the banded wren (Thryothorus pleurostictus), a resident tropical songbird in which males possess about 20 distinctive song types varying in duration, bandwidth, note composition, and trill structure. We recorded six focal males intensively for four days each while… (More)
The contribution of eggs to the communal clutch by females of the group and the genetic contribution by males of the group are significantly skewed. The amount of parental care performed by each bird is correlated with relative egg ownership for both sexes.
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)