Seasonal Variation in the Song of Male House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Biological Sciences Honors Theses; 2012
In songbirds, male song is a major component of courtship display and mate attraction. Previous studies suggest that male song may serve to attract females for extra-pair copulations, during which a mated male seeks additional females for mating purposes outside of the pair bond. If song is used to attract additional mates, the song output of the male bird should fluctuate very little throughout the breeding cycle. The purpose of this study was to determine how the song of male house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) fluctuates throughout the breeding season. House wrens are socially monogamous, but have high levels of extra-pair paternity. Fifteen minute recordings of male song were obtained throughout the breeding season and were analyzed for changes in rate, duration, and frequency. While song characteristics do not vary with date, both song length and song rate declined during the nestling feeding stage compared to egg-laying and incubation stages. These results may indicate that gaining a monogamous partner is of greater importance in male house wren reproductive success than is gaining extra-pair partners.
Summer Research Fellowship -- The Ohio State University Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
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