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Bioacoustic articles: Behaviour 140 (6)

Subject: Bioacoustic articles: Behaviour 140 (6)
From: Reeflab <>
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 10:24:07 -0700
 Balsby, T.J.S., Dabelsteen, T. & Pedersen, S.B. 2003. Degradation of
 whitethroat vocalisations: implications for song flight and communication
 network activities. Behaviour 140: 695-719.
 Abstract: Transmission of acoustic signals through the habitat modifies the
 signals and may thus influence their use in communication. We investigated
 the transmission of five different types of whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
 vocalisations, three types of song and two calls. Typical examples were
 broadcast and re-recorded in a whitethroat habitat with hedgerows and open
 meadow. We used a complete factorial design with speaker and microphone
 placed in different natural sender and receiver positions including high
 perches and song flights. Sound degradation was quantified in terms of
 signal-to-noise ratio, excess attenuation, tail-to-signal ratio and blur
 ratio. The results suggest that sound degradation generally increased with
 distance along a hedgerow, which means that birds here potentially may use
 degradation in assessing the distance to a vocalising individual. This is
 unlike the open meadow where the change in degradation with distance was
 negligible. Surprisingly, song flight relative to perched singing seems not
 to facilitate transmission of own vocalisations or perception of
 vocalisations from other individuals, and song flight vocalisations do not
 transmit differently from other types of vocalisations during song flights.
 One purpose of song flights might therefore be visual location by potential
 receivers and surveillance by the territory owner. Source level and
 degradation differed between the five types of vocalisations in accordance
 with their functions. Motif song and song flight songs used in attraction of
 females and/or deterrence of males could transmit through neighbouring
 territories, whereas the calls and the courtship diving song where a
 specific individual within or near the territory is addressed had relatively
 short communication ranges.

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