Birds of Indian Subcontinent

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

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1999
Authors:Riebel, K, Slater, PJB
Journal:Animal Behaviour
Date Published:1999
ISBN Number:0003-3472
Keywords:Fringilla, Fringilla coelebs, Fringillidae
Abstract:The song of many bird species is relatively constant in form, yet each bird has more than one song 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.
Short Title:Animal Behaviour
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith