Ambient Noise, Motor Fatigue, and Serial Redundancy in Chaffinch Song

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:Brumm, H, Slater, PJB
Journal:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Date Published:2006
ISBN Number:03405443
Keywords:Fringilla, Fringilla coelebs, Fringillidae
Abstract:Many animal signals are performed in a highly redundant manner as in some bird species where males sing several renditions of one song type before switching to another. However, differences in signal redundancy between contexts and between individuals are only poorly understood. We found that chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) in noisier areas (i.e., close to waterfalls and torrents) sang longer bouts of the same song type before switching to a new type, suggesting that they use increased serial redundancy to get the message across in noisy conditions. This is the first evidence of a noise-dependent adjustment of signal redundancy in a songbird. In addition, we found that song types with faster trills were sung in shorter bouts suggesting that the performance of highly redundant song series is probably limited by motor constraints. Thus, in noisy environments, serial redundancy in bird song may reflect a trade-off between successful signal transmission and preventing motor fatigue.
Short Title:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith