Early development of vocal interaction rules in a duetting songbird

Karla D. Rivera-Cáceres, Esmeralda Quirós-Guerrero, Marcelo Araya-Salas, Christopher N. Templeton, William Searcy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exchange of vocal signals is an important aspect of animal communication. Although birdsong is the premier model for understanding vocal development, the development of vocal interaction rules in birds and possible parallels to humans have been little studied. Many tropical songbirds engage in complex vocal interactions in the form of duets between mated pairs. In some species, duets show precise temporal coordination and follow rules (duet codes) governing which song type one bird uses to reply to each of the song types of its mate. We determined whether these duetting rules are acquired during early development in canebrake wrens. Results show that juveniles acquire a duet code by singing with a mated pair of adults and that juveniles gradually increase their fidelity to the code over time. Additionally, we found that juveniles exhibit poorer temporal coordination than adults and improve their coordination as time progresses. Human turn-taking, an analogous rule to temporal coordination, is learned during early development. We report that the ontogeny of vocal interaction rules in songbirds is analogous to that of human conversation rules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number171791
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Birdsong
  • Duet codes
  • Duet development
  • Duetting
  • Temporal coordination
  • Vocal interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Rivera-Cáceres, K. D., Quirós-Guerrero, E., Araya-Salas, M., Templeton, C. N., & Searcy, W. (2018). Early development of vocal interaction rules in a duetting songbird. Royal Society Open Science, 5(2), [171791]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171791