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Behavioral Ecology September 2004

Subject: Behavioral Ecology September 2004
From: Erin Oleson <>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 11:39:31 -0700
<tt>Scott F. Lovell and M. Ross Lein<br>
     Neighbor-stranger discrimination by song in a suboscine bird, the 
 alder flycatcher, Empidonax alnorum<br>
     Behavioral Ecology 2004 15: 799-804.</tt><br>
 <tt>Bird song and its functions have been studied extensively for more than 50 
 years, but almost entirely in oscine passerines. Few studies have 
 investigated any aspect of song in suboscine passerines. This is 
 significant because song development and the extent of individual variation 
 in song differs greatly between these groups. Learning and auditory 
 feedback play major roles in song development in all oscines studied, but 
 apparently no part in song ontogeny in suboscines. The ability of 
 territorial oscine males to discriminate between songs of neighbors and 
 strangers has received considerable attention, but this phenomenon is 
 virtually unstudied in suboscines. We tested whether a suboscine bird, the 
 alder flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum), was able to discriminate between 
 songs of neighbors and strangers despite limited individual variation in 
 song. We performed playback experiments to measure responses of males to 
 songs of neighbors and strangers broadcast from the territory boundary 
 shared by the subject and the neighbor. Subjects responded more 
 aggressively to songs of strangers than to songs of neighbors. These 
 results further our understanding of the evolution of song and its 
 functions in suboscines by demonstrating that, similar to their oscine 
 relatives, they can discriminate between the songs of neighbors and 

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