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Abstract

Soft songs have been detected in many songbirds, but in most species, research on soft songs has lagged behind studies of broadcast songs. In this study, we describe the acoustic features of a soft song in the brownish-flanked bush warbler Cettia fortipes. Compared with the broadcast song, the warbler's soft song was characterized by a lower minimum frequency and longer duration, and it had a higher proportion of rapid frequency modulation notes. Using playback experiments, some in combination with mounted specimens, we found different responses to soft and broadcast songs, and we found that soft song can predict aggressive escalation (attack). We conclude that the soft song is an aggressive signal in this species.