Data from: Song discrimination by nestling collared flycatchers during early development
McFarlane, S. Eryn; Söderberg, Axel; Wheatcroft, David; Qvarnström, Anna (2016), Data from: Song discrimination by nestling collared flycatchers during early development, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8n45g
Pre-zygotic isolation is often maintained by species-specific signals and preferences. However, in species where signals are learnt, as in songbirds, learning errors can lead to costly hybridization. Song discrimination expressed during early developmental stages may ensure selective learning later in life but can be difficult to demonstrate before behavioural responses are obvious. Here, we use a novel method, measuring changes in metabolic rate, to detect song perception and discrimination in collared flycatcher embryos and nestlings. We found that nestlings as early as 7 days old respond to song with increased metabolic rate, and, by 9 days old, have increased metabolic rate when listening to conspecific when compared with heterospecific song. This early discrimination between songs probably leads to fewer heterospecific matings, and thus higher fitness of collared flycatchers living in sympatry with closely related species.