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Nestling growth and song repertoire sire in great reed warblers: evidence for song learning as an indicator mechanism in mate choice

Nowicki, S; Hasselquist, Dennis LU ; Bensch, Staffan LU and Peters, S (2000) In Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences 267(1460). p.2419-2424
Abstract
Females of many songbird species show a preference for mating with males that have larger song repertoires, but the advantages associated with this preference are uncertain. We tested the hypothesis that song complexity can serve as an indicator of male quality because the development of the brain regions underlying song learning and production occurs when young birds typically face nutritional and other stresses, so that song reflects how well a male fared during post-hatch development. A key prediction of this hypothesis is that variation in nestling condition should correspond to variation in the adult song repertoires of individuals. We used data from a long-term study of the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) to test this... (More)
Females of many songbird species show a preference for mating with males that have larger song repertoires, but the advantages associated with this preference are uncertain. We tested the hypothesis that song complexity can serve as an indicator of male quality because the development of the brain regions underlying song learning and production occurs when young birds typically face nutritional and other stresses, so that song reflects how well a male fared during post-hatch development. A key prediction of this hypothesis is that variation in nestling condition should correspond to variation in the adult song repertoires of individuals. We used data from a long-term study of the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) to test this prediction, correlating two measures of nestling development with subsequent repertoire size of males. We found that the length of the innermost primary feather, a standard measure of development, significantly predicted first-year repertoire size. The relationship between repertoire size and body mass was nearly significant, in spite of the large variance inherent in this measure. These data support the idea that song may provide females with information about a male's response to developmental stress, which in turn is expected to correlate with indirect or direct benefits she might receive. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
volume
267
issue
1460
pages
2419 - 2424
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:0034619834
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2000.1300
project
Breeding ecology of great reed warblers
Wild great reed warblers
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3463147a-78cd-4306-b7f7-1e61172f73d5 (old id 145907)
date added to LUP
2007-06-26 10:53:19
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:46:26
@article{3463147a-78cd-4306-b7f7-1e61172f73d5,
  abstract     = {Females of many songbird species show a preference for mating with males that have larger song repertoires, but the advantages associated with this preference are uncertain. We tested the hypothesis that song complexity can serve as an indicator of male quality because the development of the brain regions underlying song learning and production occurs when young birds typically face nutritional and other stresses, so that song reflects how well a male fared during post-hatch development. A key prediction of this hypothesis is that variation in nestling condition should correspond to variation in the adult song repertoires of individuals. We used data from a long-term study of the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) to test this prediction, correlating two measures of nestling development with subsequent repertoire size of males. We found that the length of the innermost primary feather, a standard measure of development, significantly predicted first-year repertoire size. The relationship between repertoire size and body mass was nearly significant, in spite of the large variance inherent in this measure. These data support the idea that song may provide females with information about a male's response to developmental stress, which in turn is expected to correlate with indirect or direct benefits she might receive.},
  author       = {Nowicki, S and Hasselquist, Dennis and Bensch, Staffan and Peters, S},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1460},
  pages        = {2419--2424},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Nestling growth and song repertoire sire in great reed warblers: evidence for song learning as an indicator mechanism in mate choice},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2000.1300},
  volume       = {267},
  year         = {2000},
}