Deakin University

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Geographical variation in the vocalizations of the suboscine Thorn-tailed Rayadito Aphrastura spinicauda

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-07, 23:49 authored by S Ippi, RA Vásquez, Wouter Van Dongen, I Lazzoni
Structural variation in acoustic signals may be related either to the factors affecting sound production such as bird morphology, or to vocal adaptations to improve sound transmission in different environments. Thus, variation in acoustic signals can influence intraspecific communication processes. This will ultimately influence divergence in allopatric populations. The study of geographical variation in vocalizations of suboscines provides an opportunity to compare acoustic signals from different populations, without additional biases caused by song learning and cultural evolution typical of oscines. The aim of this study was to compare vocalizations of distinct populations of a suboscine species, the Thorn-tailed Rayadito. Four types of vocalizations were recorded in five populations, including all three currently accepted subspecies. Comparisons of each type of vocalization among the five populations showed that some variation existed in the repetitive trill, whereas no differences were found among alarm calls and loud trills. Variation in repetitive trills among populations and forest types suggests that sound transmission is involved in vocal differences in suboscines. Acoustic differences are also consistent with distinguishing subspecies bullocki from spinicauda and fulva, but not the two latter subspecies from each other. Our results suggest that the geographical differentiation in vocalizations observed among Thorn-tailed Rayadito populations is likely to be a consequence of different ecological pressures. Therefore, incipient genetic isolation of these populations is suggested, based on the innate origin of suboscine vocalizations. © 2011 The Authors. Ibis © 2011 British Ornithologists' Union.