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Bioacoustic Articles in Behaviour 142, 11 (Nov/Dec 2005)

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Subject: Bioacoustic Articles in Behaviour 142, 11 (Nov/Dec 2005)
From: "Frank Veit" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 16:12:38 EST
Behaviour 142, Issue 11

Sharp, SP & BJ Hatchwell (2005) Individuality in the contact calls of 
cooperatively breeding long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus). Behaviour 142: 

The ability to discriminate between individuals or groups of individuals is 
important for the evolution of sociality. Individual vocal recognition is 
thought to be widespread in social birds, yet few studies have investigated its 
role in cooperatively breeding species. In long-tailed tits, helpers 
preferentially provide care to close kin, and individuals are able to 
discriminate between the vocalisations of kin and non-kin. However, the 
mechanism underlying this recognition system is unknown. Here we quantify the 
relative variation between and within individuals in three of the contact calls 
used by this species. Spectrographic cross-correlation revealed that two of 
these calls, the 'churr' and the 'triple', were individually distinct. We 
therefore analysed the variation in a series of acoustic parameters in each of 
these two vocalisations. For both the churr and the triple, discriminant 
function analysis was able to allocate calls to the correct individuals 
according to var

iation in several frequency parameters. We hypothesise that long-tailed tits 
are able to discriminate between the calls of conspecifics based on these 
parameters. This is the first quantitative description of potential recognition 
cues in a cooperatively breeding bird in which vocal discrimination is known to 

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