pipit mimicry

To: "Steve Holliday" <>
Subject: pipit mimicry
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 13:33:08 +1100
Yes you are right and that is interesting but not really surprising. I don't recall a mention of mimicry by Pipits. The two species you mention occupy the same habitat and there is probably little if any interaction between them. As far as I know, I have done the most research and writing on bird mimicry in Australia since Chisholm, APART from all the people who have focussed on it for Lyrebirds and I suppose Bowerbirds. This is by virtue of the work on the Regent Honeyeater, which is probably uniquely true mimicry, whereas all the other stuff (including Lyrebirds) just indulge in vocal copying and not mimicry at all. The difference was explained by Dobkin (in 1979 I think). As in that the mimic does not interact with the model at all and there is no functional significance to the model of the mimicking bird's behaviour (there is when the Regent Honeyeater does it).
For this sort of enquiry, you are better off looking at references that cover all the various species of Pipits (and I think there are many) rather than Australian books that are unlike to have anything on this unless they do it all the time. I have a big stack of references relating to vocal mimicry in birds. But see my two articles.

(1994) ?Batesian acoustic mimicry by the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia?, Australian Bird Watcher 15: 250?259. (Further evidence, literature review and analysis of why this birds? mimicry is unique.)

(1992) ?Vocal mimicry of larger honeyeaters by the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia?, Australian Bird Watcher 14: 180?189. (A discovery and description of an apparently unique behaviour.)

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