Acoustic features of song categories and their possible implications for communication in the common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Hansjoerg Kunc, V. Amrhein, M. Naguib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In many passerine species, males sing more than one distinct song type. Commonly, songs are assigned to different song types or song categories based on phonological and syntactical dissimilarities. However, temporal aspects, such as song length and song rate, also need to be considered to understand the possible functions of different songs. Common nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) have large vocal repertoires of different song types but their songs additionally can be grouped into two distinct categories (particular groups of song types): whistle songs and nonwhistle songs. Whistle songs are hypothesised to be important to attract migrating females. We studied temporal properties of whistle songs and nonwhistle songs and examined the relationship between those song parameters and song output parameters, such as song rate and song length. To investigate how song parameters vary among males, we calculated the coefficients of variation for different song traits. We found that the variation in the proportion of whistle songs was significantly higher among males than variation in other song parameters. Furthermore, the proportion of whistle songs was negatively correlated with other sona output patterns. These findings suggest that the production of whistle songs might be constrained and/or that whistle songs and their succeeding pauses may act as a functional unit in communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1091
Number of pages15
JournalBehaviour
Volume142
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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