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Anthropogenic noise, song, and territorial aggression in southern house wrens

Citation

Diniz, Pedro; Duca, Charles (2022), Anthropogenic noise, song, and territorial aggression in southern house wrens, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ttdz08m00

Abstract

Anthropogenic noise constrains the transmission of birdsong and alters the behavior of receivers. Many birds adjust their acoustic signals to minimize the interference of anthropogenic noise on signal transmission. Birds may also change their acoustic signals to exchange information during aggressive interactions. However, it is unclear how birds deal with a potential trade-off between adjusting their acoustic signals to better transmit in noisy environments versus mediating aggressive interactions. Additionally, we do not know how urbanization and anthropogenic noise alters the territorial behavior of receivers. We investigated the interplay among song, territorial aggression, urbanization, and anthropogenic noise, in males of the southern house wren (Troglodytes aedon musculus), using recordings of spontaneous songs (non-aggressive context) and a playback experiment simulating a male territorial intrusion (aggressive context). We found that urban wrens behaved more aggressively in response to the intruder by singing more and spent more time closer to the intruder than rural wrens regardless of noise. Males produced songs with lower minimum frequency and trills with wider frequency bandwidth and higher vocal performance under acute (playback) than relaxed (post-playback) aggressive encounters. These results suggest that males use songs to communicate aggressive intent or fighting ability. Urban wrens produced higher-pitched songs and trills than rural wrens irrespective of aggressive context. Urban wrens in the noisiest territories also produced the highest-pitched trills but only in the non-aggressive context. Rural wrens in the noisiest territories tended to produce the longest songs (non-aggressive context) or produced the shortest songs (aggressive context). Results suggest that urbanization affects territorial and vocal behaviors in southern house wrens. Males in this species seem to primarily adjust acoustic signals in response to the territorial intruder rather than noise.

Funding

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Award: 88887.469218/2019-00

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Award: 88882.317011/2019-01

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 456446/2014-1

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