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New bioacoustic article in Naturwissenschaften

Subject: New bioacoustic article in Naturwissenschaften
From: "Sonja Amoser" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2008 11:00:38 +0200
Seth W. Coleman (2008): Mourning dove ( Zenaida macroura ) wing-whistles may
contain threat-related information for con- and hetero-specifics.
Naturwissenschaften 95(10), 981-986.

Abstract: Distinct acoustic whistles are associated with the wing-beats of
many doves, and are especially noticeable when doves ascend from the ground
when startled. I thus hypothesized that these sounds may be used by
flock-mates as cues of potential danger. To test this hypothesis, I compared
the responses of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), northern cardinals
(Cardinalis cardinalis), and house sparrows (Passer domesticus) to audio
playbacks of dove 'startle wing-whistles', cardinal alarm calls, dove
'nonstartle wing-whistles', and sparrow 'social chatter'. Following
playbacks of startle wing-whistles and alarm calls, conspecifics and
heterospecifics startled and increased vigilance more than after playbacks
of other sounds. Also, the latency to return to feeding was greater
following playbacks of startle wing-whistles and alarm calls than following
playbacks of other sounds. These results suggest that both conspecifics and
heterospecifics may attend to dove wing-whistles in decisions related to
antipredator behaviors. Whether the sounds of dove wing-whistles are
intentionally produced signals warrants further testing.

For reprints please contact Seth W. Coleman (Email: 

Kind regards


Dr. Sonja Amoser
Daringergasse 3
1190 Wien (Vienna)

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