The Influence of Song Mode on Responses of Male American Redstarts


Corresponding author: Laurent Nagle, UPRESA-CNRS 7025, Laboratoire de Psychophysiologie et d'Ethologie, Bâtiment H, Université Paris X-Nanterre, 200 Avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre, France. E-mail:


Male American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) exhibit two modes of singing: repeat and serial mode. Repeat mode consists of repetitions of a single song type, usually one possessing an accented terminal note. Serial mode is constituted by a series of different songs with unaccented terminal notes, sung in a versatile sequence. Different authors have observed that males discriminate between these two modes. In the experiments reported in this paper, we tested whether males use accented terminal notes, song versatility or both to discriminate between the two song modes. We observed that males responded more intensively to the accented song. The accented note seems a very important song characteristic for evoking male American redstart responses. In contrast, males did not show any difference in their response to single and varied serial songs.