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Developmental stress, social rank and song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

journal contribution
posted on 07.02.2004, 00:00 authored by K Spencer, Kate BuchananKate Buchanan, A Goldsmith, C Catchpole
Bird song is a sexually selected trait and females have been shown to prefer males that sing more complex songs. However, for repertoire size to be an honest signal of male quality it must be associated with some form of cost. This experiment investigates the effects of food restriction and social status during development on song complexity in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds that experienced an unpredictable food supply early in life produced a significantly smaller repertoire of song phrases than those with a constant food supply. Social status during development was also significantly correlated with repertoire size, with dominant birds producing more phrase types. This study therefore provides novel evidence that social as well as nutritional history may be important in shaping the song signal in this species.

History

Journal

Proceedings of the royal society : B supplement

Volume

271

Issue

3

Season

supplement issue

Publisher

The Royal Society Publishing

Location

London, England

ISSN

0962-8452

eISSN

1420-9101

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2003, The Royal Society