2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Gray Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Females of gray junco can use vocalization to indicate territory in front of an enemy female. This was found out by American ornithologists who studied the singing of the Yunko in conditions close to real ones. Scientists have also found that the singing of aggressive females is similar to the songs of their male counterparts, but with important differences. The article was published in the Journal of Avian Biology.
Singing is the most common form of vocal communication among birds. Mainly males sing; songs, for example, are used during the mating season to attract females or defend against an enemy. The songs of females, on the other hand, are very rare, and their functions and characteristics are poorly understood; The singing of female blackbirds, for example, has been linked to climate change.
The authors of the new work studied the vocalization system of the female gray Junco (Junco hyemalis) at the beginning of the mating season. The fact that females of this species can sing has been known for a long time: then observers suggested that female Yunko singing is associated with certain psychological conditions. The exact function of their songs (in particular, how the females use songs in the wild) is still unknown.
Scientists have suggested that female junko can use singing to get rid of female competitors. To test this, they monitored the behavior of 17 yunko pairs in the presence of an unfamiliar female sitting in a cage. Upon observation, scientists noticed that male junko approach the cage with a characteristic of courting readiness: fluffing up their tail, raising their feathers and singing short songs. Females, on the other hand, behaved more aggressively: spreading their tails and producing low-frequency long trills. The singing of females and males differed in both the minimum (p = 0.001) and peak (p = 0.03) frequencies, but it was the same in song length, maximum frequency, and trill speed.
Junco grays are usually monogamous; Based on this, the researchers concluded that the female during the mating season can use aggressive behavior (including singing) in order to exclude polygamy in the social behavior of her male.
The structure and singing characteristics of different bird species are often studied by ornithologists. For example, in our article you can read about how they found their syntactic structure in bird songs, and here you can read about what is common between the singing of birds and humans.