Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 409–414 | Cite as

Changes in singing behavior of male black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus) following mate removal

  • Ken Otter
  • Laurene Ratcliffe


We removed the mates of ten male black-capped chickadees (Pares atricapillus) during the nest-building period to determine the effect of female presence on dawn singing. During the first dawn chorus following mate removal, males sang significantly longer, increased movement within their territory, and increased the percentage of their territory covered while singing. After the female was returned, these parameters returned to the pre-removal values. Males did not alter the frequency range or modal frequency of their songs when the mate was removed, nor did they change the degree of frequency shifting in the fee-bee song. We conclude that dawn singing in the black-capped chickadee acts, in part, as an intersexual signal, and that the behavior of frequency shifting in the song may be directed more toward rival males than females.

Key words

Mate removal Song Intersexual selection Parus atricapillus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Otter
    • 1
  • Laurene Ratcliffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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