Singing in Space and Time: The Biology of Birdsong

  • Marc NaguibEmail author
  • Katharina RiebelEmail author


The variation and complexity of songbird vocalisations is striking, with some birds singing up to 1,000 different song variants. Why do songbirds sing so much and such complex songs? This chapter will provide an overview over how song is controlled and acquired, how and what kind of information is coded in different singing styles and to what features receivers attend to, thereby showing how structure is linked to function. Bird song plays a crucial role in resource defense and mate attraction, allowing us to identify the potential fitness benefits of specific singing traits. Here we review and integrate some of the key contemporary topics such as advances in understanding how early development affects signals and receiver decision rules and how information is signalled in bird communities.


Zebra Finch Song Type Repertoire Size Male Song Mate Attraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Animal SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Behavioural Biology, Institute of Biology (IBL)Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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