On the maintenance of bird song dialects

Robert Planqué, Nicholas F. Britton, Hans Slabbekoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many bird species, especially song birds but also for instance some
hummingbirds and parrots, have noted dialects. By this we mean that locally a particular song is sung by the majority of the birds, but that neighbouring patches may feature different song types. Behavioural ecologists have been interested in how such dialects come about and how they are maintained for over 45 years. As a result, a great deal is known about different mechanisms at play, such as dispersal, assortative mating and learning of songs, and there
are several competing hypotheses to explain the dialect patterns known in nature. There is, however, surprisingly little theoretical work testing these different hypotheses at present. We analyse the simplest kind of model that takes into account the most important biological mechanisms, and in which
one may speak of dialects: a model in which there are but two patches, and two song types. It teaches us that a combination of little dispersal and strong assortative mating ensures dialects are maintained. Assuming a simple, linear frequency-dependent learning rule has little eect on the maintenance of
dialects. A nonlinear learning rule, however, has dramatic consequences and greatly facilitates dialect maintenance. Adding fitness benefits for singing particular songs in a given patch also has a great impact. Now rare song types
may invade and remain in the population.
LanguageEnglish
Pages505-531
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Volume68
Issue number1-2
Early online date19 Jan 2013
DOIs
StatusPublished - Jan 2014

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Birds
Music
animal communication
Patch
Maintenance
Rule Learning
learning
assortative mating
Learning
Fitness
Testing
Parrots
hummingbirds
Dependent
birds
parrots
Singing
songbirds
ecologists
Model

Cite this

On the maintenance of bird song dialects. / Planqué, Robert; Britton, Nicholas F.; Slabbekoorn, Hans.

In: Journal of Mathematical Biology, Vol. 68, No. 1-2, 01.2014, p. 505-531.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Planqué, Robert ; Britton, Nicholas F. ; Slabbekoorn, Hans. / On the maintenance of bird song dialects. In: Journal of Mathematical Biology. 2014 ; Vol. 68, No. 1-2. pp. 505-531.
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