Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Who Dares Sings, And Who Sings Wins: Bold Birds Get The Girl

Date:
July 14, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Humans often choose partners based on behavioural keys that are displayed during social interactions. The way we behave in different social contexts can reflect personality traits or temperament that may inspire long-term love. Behavioural norms that we perceive as sexually attractive are not culturally or evolutionarily arbitrary. Researchers used bird song as a model to investigate whether behavioral traits involved in sexual advertisement can serve as good indicators of personality in wild animals.

A male collared flycatcher at an exposed site.
Credit: Miklos Laczi

Humans often choose partners based on behavioural keys that are displayed during social interactions. The way we behave in different social contexts can reflect personality traits or temperament that may inspire long-term love. Behavioural norms that we perceive as sexually attractive are not culturally or evolutionarily arbitrary.

However, personality-mediated sexual selection is not just the privilege of mankind. In a new study László Garamszegiand colleagues at the University of Antwerp and at Eötvös University, Budapest used bird song as a model to investigate whether behavioural traits involved in sexual advertisement can serve as good indicators of personality in wild animals.

Behavioural ecologists have begun to recognise the evolutionary importance of personality traits in many animal taxa, from fishes to high vertebrates. Birds are often used as a model in personality research, and past studies have demonstrated that individuals do display consistent behavioural responses on different days, and individuality can even be manifested across different ecological situations (aggression, for example, is expressed in a male-male context, while its correlated response, risk taking is at work in a predator-prey context).

Bird song has a prominent and well-established role in sexual selection, and it displays considerable variation among individuals, with a potentially strong personality component. For example, singing may reveal risk taking, because conspicuous songs attract not only the interest of females but also the attention of predators. Hence, only high-quality individuals can afford to display attractive songs, and these will necessarily be risk takers. Moreover, exploration may also be expressed in a bird's vocal repertoire, as adventurous individuals will explore a range of habitats where they encounter diverse acoustic features from other individuals that can be incorporated into their song.

Garamszegi and colleagues sought to determine the relationship between song and personality. The researchers recorded the song of 24 males in a European Collared Flycatcher population and characterised several song features. They also performed behavioural tests with the same males to determine explorative behaviour in an altered breeding environment and to assess risk taking when a potential predator was approaching. The main finding of the research was that males observed singing at low song posts relative to the surrounding vegetation were seen as explorers and risk takers in the corresponding personality tests.

Singing close to the ground may involve higher predation risk, because it offers less concealment and puts males in a conspicuous position from the predators' eye. Hence, only prime quality individuals can cope with such costs of exposed singing, while cheaters will be eliminated by predators. Apparently, the choice of song post can influence mating success, because males from lower posts were also found to establish pair bonds earlier, which is probably due to the female preference for males singing in exposed sites.

These results reveal for the first time in a non-human taxon that the male's need to balance investment in reproduction against risk taking is reflected in sexual displays. This may be important information for choosy females seeking partners with personality traits that will enhance breeding success. The researchers suggest this may further our understanding of both the use of conspicuous sexual signals in animals, and the deep evolutionary origin of personality in humans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Garamszegi LZ, Eens M, Török J. Birds Reveal their Personality when Singing. PLoS One, 3(7): e2647 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002647

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Who Dares Sings, And Who Sings Wins: Bold Birds Get The Girl." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708200655.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, July 14). Who Dares Sings, And Who Sings Wins: Bold Birds Get The Girl. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708200655.htm
Public Library of Science. "Who Dares Sings, And Who Sings Wins: Bold Birds Get The Girl." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708200655.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins