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Communication in the third dimension: Song perch height of rivals affect singing response in nightingales

Sprau, P. and Roth, T. and Naguib, M. and Amrhein, V. (2012) Communication in the third dimension: Song perch height of rivals affect singing response in nightingales. PLoS One, 7, e32194-. ISSN 1932-6203.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032194

Abstract

Many animals use long-range signals to compete over mates and resources. Optimal transmission can be achieved by choosing efficient signals, or by choosing adequate signalling perches and song posts. High signalling perches benefit sound transmission and reception, but may be more risky due to exposure to airborne predators. Perch height could thus reflect male quality, with individuals signalling at higher perches appearing as more threatening to rivals. Using playbacks on nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos), we simulated rivals singing at the same height as residents, or singing three metres higher. Surprisingly, residents increased song output stronger, and, varying with future pairing success, overlapped more songs of the playback when rivals were singing at the same height than when they were singing higher. Other than expected, rivals singing at the same height may thus be experienced as more threatening than rivals singing at higher perches. Our study provides new evidence that territorial animals integrate information on signalling height and thus on vertical cues in their assessment of rivals.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:10233
Deposited On:23 Mar 2012 12:21
Last Modified:22 Aug 2013 11:54

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