Species song discrimination in adult female song and swamp sparrows

William A. Searcy, Peter Marler, Susan S. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Six female song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) and six female swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana) were treated with oestradiol, and their response to song measured by frequency and intensity of copulation-solicitation display. Test stimuli were synthetic songs composed of either song sparrow or swamp sparrow syllables assembled in either song-sparrow-like or swamp-sparrow-like temporal patterns. Female song sparrows responded preferentially to songs containing their own species' syllables and to songs containing their own species' temporal patterns. Swamp sparrows were also sensitive to both syllable type and temporal, pattern, in contrast to male swamp sparrows, which show no preference for swamp sparrow temporal patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1003
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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