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Social influences on the whistled songs of starlings

Abstract : Playback experiments on individuals singing near their nest show that starlings tend to repeat the theme they have just heard even if it is an unfamiliar dialect and not ‘programmed’ in their own current sequence. The type of response and its temporal characteristics could be related to internal sequential organization rules. Moreover, starlings discriminate between two dialectal variants of a given theme and respond more often and more quickly to the familiar dialect. A social influence on the choice of theme by the individual can also be observed in foraging flocks and roosts where song is frequently given. Observation of such groups reveal that one theme predominates on each given occasion and that it depends on the number of individuals present and on the type of group (flock or roost). This is probably a function of the tendency to match. Previous observations of flights toward the roost showed that birds originating from different dialectal areas congregate in such groups. A few analyses of songs in flocks and roosts confirm the presence of different dialects simultaneously.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 20, 2016 - 3:56:33 PM
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Martine Hausberger. Social influences on the whistled songs of starlings. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Springer Verlag, 1982, 11 (4), pp.241-246. ⟨10.1007/BF00299300⟩. ⟨hal-01319316⟩



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