Seasonal patterns of singing activity vary with time of day in the nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

V. Amrhein, Hansjoerg Kunc, M. Naguib

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Seasonal patterns of singing activity of male birds have been thoroughly studied, but little is known about how those patterns vary with time of day. Here, we censused mated and unmated male Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) at four different hours of the day throughout the breeding cycle. In unmated males, singing activity increased until the young hatched in their neighborhood, and the seasonal variation was similar at each of the four hours of the day. In mated males, however, the seasonal patterns of singing activity differed between hours of the day. In morning (about the hour of egg-laying) and during the dusk chorus, the singing activity of mated males was strongly influenced by the females' reproductive state: singing activity was low before egg-laying and during incubation, but high during the egg-laying period. In the dawn chorus, however, singing activity showed a similar seasonal pattern in mated and unmated males and was high until late stages of the breeding cycle. Our results suggest that the social context influences singing behavior to a varying degree across the season, and that this variation also depends on time of day. The hour of data collection thus is an important but often neglected factor when seasonal changes of singing activity are studied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalThe Auk
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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