The Functions of Song in the Serin

Authors


P. G. Mota, Departamento de Antropologia, Universidade de Coimbra, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: pgmota@ci.uc.pt

Abstract

The function of song in the serin Serinus serinus was investigated by measuring variation in singing time and song flights by the male, and nest building by the female during the prelaying and laying period, and by correlating nest building, extra-pair copulation attempts and chasing of the female with male singing time and song flights between pairs. Both singing time and nest building varied in relation to the female fertile period, peaking at day −4. Moreover, nest-building activity correlated with singing time, but not song flights, between pairs. This suggests that song may have a function in stimulating the female to nest build or begin rapid yolk deposition. Pair copulations were not correlated with singing time or song flights either over days relative to laying or between pairs and pairs were not more likely to copulate in a given minute of observation when the male had sung in the previous minute than when he had not. However, extra-pair copulation attempts and chasing of the female showed a tendency to be negatively correlated with song flight but not singing time, between pairs. This suggests that song flight may have a function in discouraging sexual competition from other males.

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