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Data from: Individual recognition of opposite sex vocalizations in the zebra finch


D'Amelio, Pietro B. et al. (2018), Data from: Individual recognition of opposite sex vocalizations in the zebra finch, Dryad, Dataset,


Individual vocal recognition plays an important role in the social lives of many vocally active species. In group-living songbirds the most common vocalizations during communal interactions are low-intensity, soft, unlearned calls. Being able to tell individuals apart solely from a short call would allow a sender to choose a specific group member to address, resulting in the possibility to form complex communication networks. However, little research has yet been carried out to discover whether soft calls contain individual identity. In this study, males and females of zebra finch pairs were tested with six vocalization types - four different soft calls, the distance call and the male song - to investigate whether they are able to distinguish individuals of the opposite sex. For both sexes, we provide the first evidence of individual vocal recognition for a zebra finch soft unlearned call. Moreover, while controlling for habituation and testing for repeatability of the findings, we quantify the effects of hitherto little studied variables such as partners’ vocal exchange previous to the experiment, spectral content of playback calls and quality of the answers. We suggest that zebra finches can recognize individuals via soft vocalizations, therefore allowing complex directed communication within vocalizing flocks.

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