Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Urban noise makes flycatchers change length of their songs

Date:
November 20, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Do birds change their tune in response to urban noise? It depends on the bird species, according to new research. Their work shows that while some birds do adapt their songs in noisy conditions by means of frequency changes, others like the vermilion flycatchers adapt their song by means of changes in song lengths.

Vermilion flycatcher.
Credit: © joabsouza / Fotolia

Do birds change their tune in response to urban noise? It depends on the bird species, according to Dr. Alejandro Ariel Ríos-Chelén from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and colleagues. Their work shows that while some birds do adapt their songs in noisy conditions by means of frequency changes, others like the vermilion flycatchers adapt their song by means of changes in song lengths.

Related Articles


The work is published online in Springer's journal, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Birds use their songs during social interactions to attract females and repel intruders. Factors affecting acoustic communication, such as urban noise, may therefore impair breeding success. Research to date has shown that several songbird (or oscine) species like robins, nightingales and blackbirds, adapt their song in response to noise. This is done in order to improve acoustic communication in noisy conditions. However, little work has been done on the more tropical sister group of the oscines, the sub-oscines, which includes the vermilion flycatcher.

Rios-Chelén and team investigated whether male vermilion flycatchers adapted their song under noisy conditions in the same way as their less tropical sister group. They recorded the songs of 29 territorial vermilion flycatcher males in different parks and urban areas of Mexico City. They registered noise levels at different moments of both the pre-dawn and dawn chorus, measured song length, and counted the total number of elements in the birds' song to assess song versatility.

They found that males occupying territories with relatively high noise levels produced longer songs, whereas males in quieter places sang both long and short songs. Males also showed song plasticity as they sang less versatile songs later in the morning when noise level was higher, but time of day seemed to play a more important role in driving this shift than did noise levels.

The authors conclude, "While these results show that time of day has an effect on individual song versatility, we cannot discard an influence of noise... this study supports the idea that sub-oscine adaptation to noise is different in degree and mode to that taking place among oscines, suggesting heterogeneity in the capacity of bird species to colonize and survive in the urban environment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alejandro Ariel Ríos-Chelén, Esmeralda Quirós-Guerrero, Diego Gil, Constantino Macías Garcia. Dealing with urban noise: vermilion flycatchers sing longer songs in noisier territories. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1434-0

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Urban noise makes flycatchers change length of their songs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121906.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, November 20). Urban noise makes flycatchers change length of their songs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121906.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Urban noise makes flycatchers change length of their songs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121906.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) — Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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