Individual Signature in Canary Songs: Contribution of Multiple Levels of Song Structure

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:Lehongre, K, Aubin, T, Robin, S, Del Negro, C
Date Published:2008
ISBN Number:1439-0310
Keywords:Fringillidae, Serinus, Serinus canaria
Abstract:Abstract Through variations in features, both within and between individuals, songs of male passerines provide information on the identity of the singer. In domesticated canaries (Serinus canaria), these variations remain, for a large part, to be investigated. This led us to question whether individual identity might be coded at one or more hierarchical levels of song organization, i.e. in acoustic parameters, in the syllable repertoire and in the delivery order of syllables. A song as a whole had numerous individual distinctive acoustic features. However, the structure of its individual signature appeared to be complex. A repertoire combined syllables never sung by other individuals with those shared by other birds. But, most of the individual-specific syllables that accounted for 16% of a repertoire did not recur frequently. Variation in sequences of multiple syllable types appeared to reflect the individual identity of a male canary. Nearly all sequences larger than three syllable types were specific to the individual that produced them. Some of these occurred recurrently in songs and differed in their acoustic structure between individuals. Focusing upon recurrent sequences might allow vocal recognition of an individual without requiring the knowledge of its full repertoire. However, acoustic parameters and repertoire composition might also serve as additional cues to limit confusion between individuals.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith