Navigation Links
Low-pitched song indicates fairy-wren size
Date:2/20/2013

AUDIO: This is an example of a trill song type that tells listeners how big the singer is. Their larger physical size means that bigger male purple-crowned fairy-wrens can sing this...

Click here for more information.

A male fairy-wren's low pitch song indicates body size, a new international study has shown.

The study led by University of Melbourne researcher Dr Michelle Hall, is the first to show that the larger the male fairy wren, the lower the pitch of his song.

"This is the first time we have been able to show that song pitch indicates body size in song birds," said Dr Hall from the University's Department of Zoology.

The study, which began when Dr Hall was at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, has been published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

Reliable communication about body size between animals is particularly important when communicating with mates or rivals. For example the bigger the rival is, the more likely it is to win in a fight so a song pitch indicating a large size may deter rivals.

"Surprisingly, there is very little evidence that the pitch of calls indicates body size differences within species, except in frogs," she said.

"In birds in particular, there has been no evidence that the pitch of songs indicated the size of the singer until now."

The study involved measuring the leg length (a good indicator of overall body size) of 45 adult male purple-crowned fairy-wrens. It found there was a correlation between the lowest song pitches and male size.

"We found the bigger males sang certain song types at a lower pitch than smaller males," she said.

Purple-crowned fairy-wrens are creek-dwelling birds from northern Australia and, like their close relatives the blue wrens, males sing trill songs after the calls of certain predators, a context that seems to attract the attention of females.

Males have a repertoire of trill song variants, and it is the low-pitched variants that indicate the size of the singer.

Dr Hall showed that it may be the complexity of birdsong that has obscured the relationship between body size and song frequency in the past.

"Birds can have large repertoires of song types spanning a wide frequency range, and some birds even shift the pitch of their songs down in aggressive contexts," she said.

"Focusing on the lowest pitches that males were able to sing was the key to finding the correlation with body size."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Intensive kidney dialysis indicates better survival rates than conventional dialysis
2. Brain may see more than the eyes, study indicates
3. A digital portrait for grapes indicates their ripeness
4. Animal model of human evolution indicates thick hair mutation emerged 30,000 years ago
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Low-pitched song indicates fairy-wren size
(Date:2/2/2017)... , Feb. 1, 2017  Central to ... and meaningful advances worldwide, The Japan Prize Foundation ... Prize, who have pushed the envelope in their ... and Communication. Three scientists are being recognized with ... achievements that not only contribute to the advancement ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider ... new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and abuse ... introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference in ... point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout ... waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem in ...
(Date:1/24/2017)...  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic sensor ... signs and alerts parents on their smart phones ... drops. But pediatric experts argue that such devices ... evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy babies. ... parents of healthy babies, promising peace of mind ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 22, 2017  United Therapeutics ... its financial results for the fourth quarter and ... 2016 financial results reflect continued growth as net ... million," said Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., United Therapeutics, Chairman ... our ability to develop and advance our growing ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... Vortex Biosciences ... fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that are ... Molecular Medicine Tri Conference (Tri-Con) Annual Meeting 2017 (February 19–24 San Francisco). , ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... With ... operational capacity with its strategic internal leadership to provide clients with best ... operational management. With office locations in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... , Feb. 21, 2017  Lexus, a returning partner of the ... the official and exclusive automobile partner of the men,s and women,s ... The 2017 Amgen Tour of California ... feature some of the best professional cycling teams in the world ... 14-20. The four-day Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease TM ...
Breaking Biology Technology: