Journal article

Male Songbird Indicates Body Size with Low-Pitched Advertising Songs

Michelle L Hall, Sjouke A Kingma, Anne Peters



Body size is a key sexually selected trait in many animal species. If size imposes a physical limit on the production of loud low-frequency sounds, then low-pitched vocalisations could act as reliable signals of body size. However, the central prediction of this hypothesis--that the pitch of vocalisations decreases with size among competing individuals--has limited support in songbirds. One reason could be that only the lowest-frequency components of vocalisations are constrained, and this may go unnoticed when vocal ranges are large. Additionally, the constraint may only be apparent in contexts when individuals are indeed advertising their size. Here we explicitly consider signal diversity ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Future Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a Minerva Fellowship of the Max Planck Society and an ARC Future Fellowship (FT110100505 to AP). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.