Ecology: Birds sing at a higher pitch in urban noise

  title={Ecology: Birds sing at a higher pitch in urban noise},
  author={Hans Slabbekoorn and M. Peet},
Great tits hit the high notes to ensure that their mating calls are heard above the city's din. 

Cicadas impact bird communication in a noisy tropical rainforest

Lay Summary When the cicada buzz starts up, bird song shuts down in a neotropical rainforest. When birds do sing at the same time as cicadas, their song bandwidths do not overlap.

Correction to: Sometimes noise is beneficial: stream noise informs vocal communication in the little torrent frog Amolops torrentis

The article, “Sometimes noise is beneficial”, explains why some types of noise are beneficial and why others are not.

Evolving Acoustic Niche Differentiation and Soundscape Complexity Based on Intraspecific Sound Communication

It is shown that sound communication between different species with differentiating acoustic niches in mature ecosystems generates rich soundscapes that are distinct from one another.

Ecology of an urban-adapted species over an urbanization gradient

The tawny frogmouth is a nocturnal bird species endemic to Australia. While many species of wildlife worldwide experience detrimental outcomes from urbanization, this thesis demonstrates the

The spatial scale of adaptation in common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

This dissertation presents a meta-analyses of the immune system’s response to infectious disease and shows clear patterns of decline in response to antibiotics, which have an important effect on survival and the likelihood of disease.

Birds and Anthropogenic Noise: Singing Higher May Matter

The validity of comparing the communication benefits of changes in amplitude and frequency to question the adaptive significance of “urban songs" is addressed.

Song adjustments by an open habitat bird to anthropogenic noise, urban structure, and vegetation

Both noise and structure influenced spectral features of songs with limited effects of song timing, suggesting males put more energy into lower frequencies of their songs, possibly to improve sound transmission in human-built environments.

Environment: Whale-call response to masking boat noise

Investigation of the vocal behaviour in the presence and absence of whale-watcher boat traffic of three social groups of killer whales living in the nearshore waters of Washington state indicates that these whales adjust their behaviour to compensate for anthropogenic noise once it reaches a threshold level.




The period for song learning to sing can extend throughout adult life in this species and is comparable in timing to the timing of song learning for discrimination tasks such as neighbour recognition and laboratory operant conditioning.

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.


It is shown that the little greenbul (Andropadus virens), previously shown to vary morphologically across the gradient in fitness‐related characters, also varies with respect to song characteristics, suggesting that habitat‐dependent selection may act simultaneously on traits of ecological importance and those important in prezygotic isolation.

Bird song, ecology and speciation.

  • H. SlabbekoornT. 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.

Bird abundance and diversity along an urban-rural gradient : A comparative study between two cities on different continents

We compared the avifauna in two cities, Quebec (Canada) and Rennes (France), in order to define general responses of wildlife in an urban ecosystem. These cities have a similar urban structure that

The effects of car traffic on breeding bird populations in woodland. Ill. Reduction of density in relation to the proximity of main roads

It is argued that noise load is probably the most important cause of the reduced densities of birds in deciduous and coniferous woodland, and the importance of noise and visibility of cars as possible factors affecting density is stressed.

Changes to acoustic communication systems in human-altered environments.

Consideration of potential acoustic challenges caused by human-generated habitat modification has important implications for basic research and conservation biology, including species that either possess little ability to adapt quickly on an evolutionary time scale or have little plasticity in their communicative systems may be unable to respond to large anthropogenic alterations in their acoustic environment.

Zum Einfluß einer Autobahn im Bau und während des Betriebs auf die Brutbiologie von Kohlmeisen (Parus major) und Blaumeisen (P. caeruleus)

The motorway did not affect the species composition, rate of occupied nestboxes or the various breeding parameters; in particular, the moving traffic after opening did not seem to have any effect and the breeding parameters from the study area at the motorway were typical for the Schlüchtern region.