Song type switching in the chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs: timing or counting?

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29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The song of many bird species is relatively constant in form, yet each bird has more than one son type, making it an excellent model for studies of the mechanisms underlying switching between behaviour patterns. The chaffinch is a good example. Males sing with eventual variety, repeating each song type in the repertoire a few times before switching to another type. The mechanism triggering these switches is not known. We investigated long continuous recordings of spontaneous singing by six wild males to test two hypotheses: (1) that a maximum number of repetitions limits bout length; or (2) that a switch occurs after a song type bout reaches a maximum duration ('time window'). Strong evidence was found for a temporal limitation: song type bouts with many repetitions were delivered only at a fast rate, whereas bouts consisting of few songs were delivered either fast or slow. (C) 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume57
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999

Keywords

  • GREAT TITS
  • BIRD SONG
  • REPERTOIRES
  • HYPOTHESIS
  • ORGANIZATION
  • PERFORMANCE
  • EXHAUSTION

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