Structure and Use of Song in the Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

Authors

  • Susan E. Cosens,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Toronto, Department of Zoology, Toronto
      Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N2
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  • J. Bruce Falls

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Toronto, Department of Zoology, Toronto
      Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1.
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Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N2

Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1.

Abstract and Summary

Analysis of yellow-headed blackbird songs indicated that accenting and buzzing songs differed in note structure, energy distribution, and loudness. Buzzing songs showed a shift in energy distribution as a result of propagation through marsh habitat whereas accenting songs did not. Results suggest that accenting songs should propagate further in marsh habitat than buzzing songs. Two experiments, done to test whether song types differed in functional distance, showed that the presence of a male song of either type, or a male or female model on their territories increased use of buzzing songs by males. In the absence of auditory or visual stimulation, males used mainly accenting songs. Results supported the hypothesis that buzzing songs are used primarily for short-range interactions whereas accenting songs are used primarily for long-range general advertising.

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