Neotropical wrens learn new duet rules as adults

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although song development in songbirds has been much studied as an analogue of language development in humans, the development of vocal interaction rules has been relatively neglected in both groups. Duetting avian species provide an ideal model to address the acquisition of interaction rules as duet structure involves time and pattern-specific relationships among the vocalizations from different individuals. In this study, we address the development of the most striking properties of duets: the specific answering rules that individuals use to link their own phrase types to those of their partners (duet codes) and precise temporal coordination. By performing two removal experiments in canebrake wrens (Cantorchilus zeledoni), we show that individuals use a fixed phrase repertoire to create new phrase pairings when they acquire a new partner. Furthermore, immediately after pairing, individuals perform duets with poor coordination and poor duet code adherence, but both aspects improve with time. These results indicate that individuals need a learning period to be able to perform well-coordinated duets that follow a consistent duet code. We conclude that both duet coordination and duet code adherence are honest indicators of pair-bond duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20161819
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume283
Issue number1843
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 2016

Fingerprint

language development
Troglodytidae
Songbirds
human development
songbirds
vocalization
animal communication
learning
duration
Pair Bond
Language Development
Experiments
Human Development
Music
pair bond
removal experiment
songbird
song
Learning
code

Keywords

  • Canebrake wren
  • Duet code
  • Duet coordination
  • Duet ontogeny
  • Song learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Neotropical wrens learn new duet rules as adults. / Rivera-Cáceres, Karla D.; Quirós-Guerrero, Esmeralda; Araya-Salas, Marcelo; Searcy, William.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 283, No. 1843, 20161819, 30.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rivera-Cáceres, Karla D. ; Quirós-Guerrero, Esmeralda ; Araya-Salas, Marcelo ; Searcy, William. / Neotropical wrens learn new duet rules as adults. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 283, No. 1843.
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