The relationship between syllable repertoire similarity and pairing success in a passerine bird species with complex song

László Zsolt Garamszegi, Sándor Zsebok, J. Török

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Repertoire size, i.e. the number of unique song elements that an individual possesses, is thought to be an important target of female preference. However, the use of repertoire size reflects how researchers work with complex songs; while it does not necessary describe biological functions, as listeners of song may also rely on song composition. Specific syllables may have coherent consequences for mate attraction because they are costly to produce, mediate syllable sharing or indicate the dialect of origin. We tested for the relationship between song composition and pairing success in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). We applied a tree-clustering method to hierarchically classify males based on the degree of repertoire overlap, and then used a phylogenetic approach to assess the degree by which pairing speed matches the hierarchically structured song data. We found that males using similar syllables also find a breeding partner at a similar speed. Partitioning the variance components of pairing speed, we detected that the consequences of particular syllables for mating are repeatable across males. When assessing the role of repertoire similarity in mediating direct syllable sharing, we derived a positive relationship between the physical distance between pairs of males and their repertoire overlap implying that neighboring males avoid copying each other's song. Finally, we were unable to demonstrate that syllables related to higher mating success are more common in the population, which would support mechanisms based on female preference for local songs. Our results imply that individual-specific song organization may be relevant for sexual selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume295
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2012

Fingerprint

Birds
Music
Pairing
animal communication
Overlap
birds
Sharing
Components of Variance
Copying
Phylogenetics
Chemical analysis
Clustering Methods
Partitioning
Classify
Imply
Target
Necessary
Demonstrate
Similarity
Relationships

Keywords

  • Phylogenetic approaches
  • Repeatability
  • Repertoire size estimation
  • Statistics
  • Tree-clustering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this

The relationship between syllable repertoire similarity and pairing success in a passerine bird species with complex song. / Garamszegi, László Zsolt; Zsebok, Sándor; Török, J.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 295, 21.02.2012, p. 68-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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