Title

Solos, duets and choruses: Vocal behaviour of the Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha), a cooperatively breeding neotropical songbird

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Title

Journal of Ornithology

Volume

150

Issue

4

First Page

743

Last Page

753

DOI

10.1007/s10336-009-0393-3

Abstract

Vocal communication in duetting and chorusing birds is a growing area of study in avian ecology, yet much remains unknown about temporal and population-level variation in these complex vocal signals. In this study, we describe the acoustic structure and temporal variation in solos, duets, and choruses in the Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha), a cooperatively breeding neotropical passerine. We collected focal recordings of 19 groups to assess both diel and seasonal variation in vocal output, as well as population-wide sharing of vocal signals. We found that birds produce a complex array of vocalisations, including tonal, frequency-modulated syllables grouped into phrases, as well as stereotyped, atonal sounds. Songs are produced as solos or combined into duets and choruses. Solo and duet songs show a dawn chorus effect. Solo song rate, but not duet or chorus rate, varied across breeding stages. The majority of phrases are shared amongst groups, significantly more amongst groups in nearby territories. We suggest that chorus songs may be an important indicator of group identity and may play a role in maintaining group territories, but do not play a role in relation to the breeding cycle. The degree of population-wide phrase-sharing suggests either short-distance dispersal or delayed song learning. This paper is the first fine-scale description of vocal behaviour in this species and enhances our understanding of group-singing in a complex social environment. © Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2009.

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