Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 145–152

Dealing with urban noise: vermilion flycatchers sing longer songs in noisier territories

Authors

    • Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
    • Department of Evolution and EcologyUniversity of California
  • Esmeralda Quirós-Guerrero
    • Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Diego Gil
    • Departamento de Ecología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC)
  • Constantino Macías Garcia
    • Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1434-0

Cite this article as:
Ríos-Chelén, A.A., Quirós-Guerrero, E., Gil, D. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2013) 67: 145. doi:10.1007/s00265-012-1434-0

Abstract

In noisy conditions, several avian species modulate their songs in amplitude and in the temporal or frequency domains, presumably to improve communication. Most studies on how passerine birds perform such adjustments have been carried out in oscines, a group well known for the importance of learning in the development of their songs. On the other hand, suboscines, in which learning appears to have little influence on the development of their songs, have been largely neglected. We evaluated song adjustment to noise in the vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), a suboscine bird. We conducted song recordings and noise measurements at several territories within Mexico City during the length of the dawn chorus. Males living in noisier places sang long songs, while those males inhabiting quieter places sang both short and long songs. We also found evidence of individual song plasticity, as males sang less versatile songs (i.e., songs with more introductory elements) later in the morning when noise levels were higher. This individual shift in song seems to be more associated to time of the day rather than to the observed rise in noise. However, we cannot discard an effect of noise, which should be evaluated with an experiment. We discuss our results in the context of other studies with oscine passerines and other taxa and consider implications for signaling in intra- and intersexual contexts.

Keywords

Vermilion flycatcherPyrocephalus rubinusNoiseBird songSuboscineSong plasticity

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012