Acoustic mechanisms of a species-based discrimination of the chick-a-dee call in sympatric black-capped (Poecile atricapillus) and mountain chickadees (P. gambeli)

Lauren Guillette, Tara Farrell, Marisa Hoeschele, Christopher Sturdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous perceptual research with black-capped and mountain chickadees has demonstrated that these species treat each other’s namesake chick-a-dee calls as belonging to separate, open-ended categories. Further, the terminal dee portion of the call has been implicated as the most prominent species marker. However, statistical classification using acoustic summary features suggests that all note-types contained within the chick-a-dee call should be sufficient for species classification. The current study seeks to better understand the note-type based mechanisms underlying species-based classification of the chick-a-dee call by black-capped and mountain chickadees. In two, complementary, operant discrimination experiments, both species were trained to discriminate the species of the signaler using either entire chick-a-dee calls, or
individual note-types from chick-a-dee calls. In agreement with previous perceptual work we find that the D note had significant stimulus control over species-based discrimination. However, in line with statistical classifications, we find that all note-types carry species information. We discuss reasons why the most easily discriminated note-types are likely candidates to carry species-based cues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number229
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Chick-a-dee call
  • Mountain chickadee
  • Operant conditioning
  • Songbird vocalization
  • Species discrimination
  • Sympatric

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