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How a simple and stereotyped acoustic signal transmits individual information: the song of the White-browed Warbler Basileuterus leucoblepharus

Author(s): Aubin Thierry | Mathevon Nicolas | Silva Maria Luisa da | Vielliard Jacques M.E. | Sebe Frederic

Journal: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências
ISSN 0001-3765

Volume: 76;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 335;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: bird acoustic communication | individual information | tropical forest

The White-browed Warbler Basileuterus leucoblepharus, a common bird of the BrazilianAtlantic forest, emits only one distinct song type in the context of territorial defense. Individual or neighbor-stranger recognition may be more difficult when birds share similar songs. In fact, the analysis of songs of different individuals reveals slight differences in the temporal and the frequency domains. Effectively, a careful examination of the signals of different individuals (21) by 5 complementary methods of analysis reveals first, that one or two gaps in frequency occur between two successive notes at different moments of the song, and second, that their temporal and frequency positions are stereotyped for each individual. Playback experiments confirm these findings. By propagation experiments, we show that this individual information can be only transmitted at short range (< 100 m) in the forest. In regard to the size and the repartition of territories, this communication process appears efficient and adaptive.

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