Species song discrimination in choice experiments with territorial male swamp and song sparrows

Susan S. Peters, William Searcy, Peter Marler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Scopus citations


Playbacks of synthetic and normal songs were used to determine what song parameters are important to species song recognition by territorial male swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana) and song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Syllable morphology influences the discrimination of conspecific song from song sparrow song in adult swamp sparrows, but temporal pattern does not; this result duplicates that found in studies of song learning of the young in this species. Species song recognition is influenced by both syllable morphology and temporal pattern in adult song sparrows, in contrast to the situation in young sparrows, which seem not to distinguish their own species' song from that of swamp sparrows on either cue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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