Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 123–128 | Cite as

Use of the song repertoire in intersexual and intrasexual contexts by male red-winged blackbirds

  • William A. Searcy
  • Ken Yasukawa


Live and stuffed male and female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) were presented to territorial males in order to study the repertoire organization of males during intersexual and intrasexual encounters. Territorial male red-winged blackbirds switched song types more frequently and sang more song types in response to presentation of a female stimulus than during control periods, but decreased their switching frequency when a male stimulus was presented. Switching frequency in response to the female stimulus was three times that in response to the male stimulus. These results support the hypothesis that song repertoires of male red-winged blackbirds evolved primarily in response to intersexual rather than intrasexual selection. They also suggest that male red-winged blackbirds have been selected to de-emphasize their song repertoires during encounters with conspecific males as a result of some as yet unidentified cost.


Control Period Switching Frequency Song Type Territorial Male Conspecific Male 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Searcy
    • 1
  • Ken Yasukawa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Pymatuning Laboratory of EcologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyBeloit CollegeBeloitUSA

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