Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song

William Searcy, E. A. Brenowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of species recognition in male birds have often identified features that are distinctive, invariant markers of a species song but which can be altered without altering male response1-4. Such results raise the question of why natural selection has favoured the retention of these features in the song. We propose that such features are favoured by selection because females use them in species recognition even though males do not. There are excellent theoretical grounds for expecting that males and females of the same species would differ in their means of species recognition, as required by this hypothesis. We report here that female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) discriminate against abnormal songs previously shown to be acceptable to males of this species. Similar sexual differences in species recognition may be expected in animals other than birds, and in recognition systems based on cues other than vocalizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-154
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume332
Issue number6160
StatePublished - Dec 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

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interspecific variation
animal communication
Agelaius phoeniceus
birds
vocalization
natural selection
animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Searcy, W., & Brenowitz, E. A. (1988). Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song. Nature, 332(6160), 152-154.

Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song. / Searcy, William; Brenowitz, E. A.

In: Nature, Vol. 332, No. 6160, 01.12.1988, p. 152-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Searcy, W & Brenowitz, EA 1988, 'Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song', Nature, vol. 332, no. 6160, pp. 152-154.
Searcy W, Brenowitz EA. Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song. Nature. 1988 Dec 1;332(6160):152-154.
Searcy, William ; Brenowitz, E. A. / Sexual differences in species recognition of avian song. In: Nature. 1988 ; Vol. 332, No. 6160. pp. 152-154.
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