Individual Recognition by Auditory Cues in the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

@article{Stevenson1970IndividualRB,
  title={Individual Recognition by Auditory Cues in the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)},
  author={Joan G. Stevenson and Rosemary E. Hutchison and John B. Hutchison and Brian C. R. Bertram and William Homan Thorpe},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1970},
  volume={226},
  pages={562-563}
}
IN many socially organized vertebrates, successful parental care depends on individual recognition1. Particularly with birds breeding in dense colonies there are clear signs that the basis for recognition may be mainly auditory rather than visual. In the sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis), for example2, the “fish call” used by the parent returning with fish for the young has the kind of individual differences in acoustic structure on which recognition might be expected to depend. Our… 

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References

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It is clear that if the fish-call is to be used as an effective means of individual recognition in a large colony the patterning of the call must play a major role.

Perceptual Basis for Group Organization in Social Vertebrates, especially Birds

Analysis of the calls of individuals of certain species of colony-nesting birds shows that each is measurably distinct, and that the overall relationship of the component parts is important in recognition.