Navigation Links
'Curtain twitching' skylarks keep track of strangers through their songs
Date:8/27/2009

Skylarks can hear the difference between friendly neighbours and dangerous strangers, and deal with any threatening intruders, says new research by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

Male skylarks learn to recognise local dialects in their neighbours' individual songs, remember where each neighbour is supposed to be and reprimand intruders who don't belong in the neighbourhood, according to a study carried out by Dr Elodie Briefer, a postdoctoral researcher at Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

Published in the Springer journal Naturwissenschaften this week, Dr Briefer and her colleagues at the University of Paris South found that skylark neighbours are tolerated if they stay in their own territory, whereas strangers - skylarks who belong to another neighbourhood - are attacked if they intrude too close to the nest.

Researchers also observed the birds' reactions when they heard the recorded song of another skylark from different directions. The results of the study showed how neighbouring birds who travel too far from their regular territory - a move which is seen as threatening - also run the risk of being attacked.

Males skylarks fiercely guard their chosen home territory, the area of land where they make their nest and hunt for food. The size and position of the male's territory is also important as female birds check it out before deciding who is going to make the best father to her chicks. Each skylark will usually have several neighbours, living in territories that border his own.

Bird songs are among the most complex sounds produced by animals and the skylark (Alauda arvensis) is one of the most complex of all. The songs are composed of 'syllables', consecutive sounds produced in a complex way, with almost no repetition. The male skylark can sing more than 300 different syllables, and each individual bird's song is slightly different.

Dr Briefer's research found that the songs of neighbouring skylarks share more syllables with each other than they do with strangers, like a dialect. She says: "This may have evolved because it is safer for the birds to live close together, but they need a way to keep intruders out. By sharing a local dialect in their song, they can keep an ear out for other birds that live nearby and kick any strangers out of the neighbourhood."


'/>"/>

Contact: Simon Levey
s.levey@qmul.ac.uk
44-207-882-5404
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists track impact of DNA damage in the developing brain
2. New technique can fast-track better ionic liquids for biomass pre-treatments
3. Scientists track chemical changes in cells as they endure extreme conditions
4. Geographic profiling applied to track hunting patterns of white sharks in South Africa
5. New tracking approach will help protect polar bears
6. Tracking down the causes of multiple sclerosis
7. International team tracks clues to HIV
8. ORNL, St. Jude track neurons to predict and prevent disease
9. New tracking tags are providing fish-eye views of ways to manage depressed fisheries
10. Tracking tigers in 3-D
11. ESAs water mission on track for launch
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) ... initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity ... respective audiences for taking steps to live healthier, ... in 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening ... 38 million people who have conducted over 185 ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... 29, 2016 Nearly one billion matches per second ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's ... efficient Identity Management. (PRNewsFoto/DERMALOG Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... , November 22, 2016 According to the ... IRIS, Palm Print, Face, Vein, Signature, Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to grow from USD 10.74 ... CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... --  SurePure, Inc. (OTCQB: SURP) a global leader ... concluded an agreement with Tamarack Biotics under which Tamarack ... acquire units of the Company,s patented photopurification technology with ... Concurrently with the option, SurePure has entered ... seek regulatory approvals in the United States ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016 The global Pyrogen ... hold a dominant share in the overall market. The ... Inc., and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s share of ... Research observes that these companies are expected to retain ... that are do not require rabbit pyrogen testing along ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016  Tempus, a ... cancer care, and Penn,s Abramson Cancer Center have ... a positive response to immunotherapy treatment based on ... As part of a research collaboration, Tempus ... and melanoma cancer patient data to Penn. Utilizing ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 , ... SSCI, ... experts to discuss the implications of the latest FDA guidance on pharmaceutical cocrystals ... 8, 2016 in Cambridge, MA. , The event follows the successful November ...
Breaking Biology Technology: