Cities Change the Songs of Birds

  title={Cities Change the Songs of Birds},
  author={Hans Slabbekoorn and Ardie M. den Boer-Visser},
  journal={Current Biology},

Figures from this paper

Urban-associated drivers of song variation along a rural–urban gradient
Findings show that although anthropogenic noise may shape urban-associated changes in song, other features of the urban environment may be more important contributors to patterns in song variation.
Noisy human neighbours affect where urban monkeys live
It is shown that urban black-tufted marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) living in noisy urban areas may select their home-range based primarily on ambient noise level, providing evidence that the use of home- range by wild animals can be affected by a potential aversive stimulus such as noise pollution.
Singing in the city: high song frequencies are no guarantee for urban success in birds
Although song frequency was related to habitat preferences and body size of the species, none of these factors explained the lack of association with urban success, and these high frequencies are apparently no guarantee for the success of bird species in urbanized environments.
Birds and Anthropogenic Noise: Are Urban Songs Adaptive?
It is found that frequency changes of urban songs are not very effective in mitigating masking from traffic noise, and an increase in vocal pitch increased communication distance only marginally, while vocal amplitude adjustments had a strong and significantly larger effect.
Signal information of bird song changes in human-dominated landscapes
This is one of few studies to investigate signal relationships and potential fitness consequences of song variation in natural urban systems, thereby providing insight into micro-evolutionary processes operating within novel environments.
Increased attenuation and reverberation are associated with lower maximum frequencies and narrow bandwidth of bird songs in cities
As urbanization expands globally, the communication systems of an increasing number of species are affected. Because bird song is a long-distance signal used to attract mates and defend territories,


Geographical Variation in the Song of the Great Tit (Parus major) in Relation to Ecological Factors
It is concluded that differences between habitats in climate, body size, perch height, and acoustic competition from other species are unimiportant in accounting for the observed differences in song.
A .—In urban environments, anthropogenic noise may mask bird song, especially the notes occurring at lower frequencies (1–2 kHz). Birds living in urban environments may modify their songs,
Habitat-dependent ambient noise: consistent spectral profiles in two African forest types.
  • H. Slabbekoorn
  • Environmental Science
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • 2004
Many animal species use acoustic signals to attract mates, to defend territories, or to convey information that may contribute to their fitness in other ways. However, the natural environment is
Chapter 6 – Singing in the wild: The ecology of birdsong
The impact of environmental noise on song amplitude in a territorial bird
Summary 1. The impact of environmental background noise on the performance of territorial songs was examined in free-ranging nightingales ( Luscinia megarhynchos Brehm). An analysis of sound pressure
Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World
The effects of human disturbance in urban parks of Madrid (Spain) on bird tolerance were studied to derive recommendations for urban park planning. We intended to determine (1) how habitat structure
Bird song, ecology and speciation.
  • H. Slabbekoorn, T. Smith
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2002
It is argued that song learning may initially constrain reproductive divergence, while in the later stages of population divergence it may promote speciation, and primarily on species with learned song.
Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization
Microhabitat Selection and Singing Behavior Patterns of Male House Finches ( Carpodacus mexicanus ) in Urban Parks in a Heavily Urbanized Landscape in the Western U . S . *
* Published online December 14, 2005 Abstract We assessed the role of park size, habitat structure, human disturbance (pedestrian rate and ambient noise), and the number of conspecifics in the
Song repertoires and territory defence in the great tit
It is shown that great tit song plays a part in territory maintenance by experiments in which ‘occupied’ territories with loudspeakers after removing resident pairs, and the possibility that repertoires enhance the effectiveness of song as a territorial display was tested.