, Volume 67, Issue 10, pp 1691-1697
Date: 11 Jul 2013

Male's return rate, rather than territory fidelity and breeding dispersal, explains geographic variation in song sharing in two populations of an oscine passerine (Oreothlypis celata)

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Males of some oscine passerines learn and share songs of neighboring males. This process can lead to the formation of song pattern neighborhoods or microhabitat song dialects. The degree to which song sharing occurs between populations and the spatial scale over which neighboring males share songs, however, can vary widely, and interpopulation comparisons have suggested that song sharing is more common in residents than in migrants. Here, we examine two populations of the orange-crowned warbler (Oreothlypis celata) to quantify patterns of song sharing at the northern (long-distance migrant) and southern (short-distance migrant) edges of the breeding distribution and to test if return rate, territory fidelity, and breeding dispersal explain the patterns found in the two populations. The southern population (O. celata sordida breeding on Santa Catalina Island, California; 33°N) had a higher annual return rate to their territories and exhibited higher song sharing in neighborhoods than their counterparts (O. celata celata breeding in Fairbanks, Alaska; 64°N). Year-to-year patterns of territory fidelity and breeding dispersal distances were similar between populations. Our results suggest that if migratory distance generally covaries with the proportion of returning males, this could explain different levels of song sharing between the short- and long-distance migrants.

Communicated by H. Brumm