Habitat structure and the evolution of bird song: a meta-analysis of the evidence for the acoustic adaptation hypothesis
Article first published online: 20 OCT 2006
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 134–142, February 2007
How to Cite
BONCORAGLIO, G. and SAINO, N. (2007), Habitat structure and the evolution of bird song: a meta-analysis of the evidence for the acoustic adaptation hypothesis. Functional Ecology, 21: 134–142. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01207.x
- Issue published online: 24 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 20 OCT 2006
- Received 21 June 2006; revised 23 August 2006; accepted 24 August 2006
- acoustic communication;
- signal degradation;
- 1Habitat structure has been considered as a main factor shaping the evolution of bird song acoustics.
- 2Based on expected differential patterns of sound degradation in different habitats, the acoustic adaptation hypothesis (AAH) proposes that songs with lower frequencies, narrower frequency ranges and longer inter-element intervals should occur more frequently in densely vegetated compared with herbaceous habitats.
- 3Empirical tests of the AAH have provided mixed results. Here, we review for the first time the literature on this topic using a meta-analytical, quantitative approach.
- 4Maximum, minimum, peak frequency and frequency range were found to be significantly lower in closed compared with open habitats, but the mean size of the effect of habitat was small. Inter-element intervals were not affected by habitat structure.
- 5The AAH implicitly assumes that birds are selected to maximize song broadcast range and minimize degradation, while it neglects the potential role of energetic costs of singing and selection by eavesdroppers (e.g. predators and parasites).
- 6Our meta-analysis supports the AAH, but habitat structure only weakly predicts the acoustical properties of bird songs. Thus, other potentially relevant factors should be included in realistic models of the evolution of bird song acoustics.