Mechanisms of song differentiation in introduced populations of Chaffinches Fringilla coelebs in New Zealand

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1984
Authors:Jenkins, PF, Baker, AJ
Date Published:1984
ISBN Number:1474-919X
Keywords:Fringilla, Fringilla coelebs, Fringillidae, United Kingdom
Abstract:Chaffinches Fringilla coelebs were introduced to New Zealand from Great Britain over 100 years ago, and since then their songs have diverged from British ones in both syllable structure and basic organization of syllable sequences. The New Zealand populations seem to be unique in that their songs have undergone differentiation of trill segments by progressive elaboration of syllable morphology and hp ascending and descending changes of pitch. Published sonagrams of British song types have significantly more trill phrases and significantly fewer syllables in the end phrase than do Yew Zealand ones. Many New Zealand song types have much elaborated end phrases and concomitantly simpler trill segments, with songs quite commonly having only one trill phrase. This reversal of complexity between the trill and end phrase in New Zealand seems to have been derived by progressive reduction of the ultimate trill phrase to one syllable, and by recombination of end phrase syllables from different song types into one compound end phrase. The significance of the increased complexity in the end phrases of many song types may relate to the sound transmission properties of dense pine forests in New Zealand, in which Chaffinches are ubiquitous. Elaborate end phrases degrade much less from reverberation in pine forests because individual syllables have more dispersed temporal patterning. Recombination of syllables to form new song types is a major mechanism of song differentiation in New Zealand. Although whole song copying is the predominant mode of replication, very few song types in a locality sample are composed of a unique set of syllables. Rather, song types in an area are interconnected by different combinations of shared syllables, suggesting that the incorporation of some local syllables in a bird's repertoire is sufficient to signal its status as a member of a neighbourhood and also allows the evolution of broadcast complexity.
Short Title:Ibis
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith