Do songbirds attend to song categories when selecting breeding habitat? A case study with a wood warbler

In: Behaviour
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Breeding habitat selection strongly affects reproduction and individual fitness. Among birds, using social cues from conspecifics to select habitat is widespread, but how different types of conspecific social cues influence breeding habitat selection remains less understood. We conducted a playback experiment evaluating if the yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia), a species with two song categories linked to pairing status, uses categories differently when selecting breeding habitat. We hypothesized that yellow warblers use second-category singing mode, which is mostly sung by paired males, over first-category singing mode for habitat selection, as successfully paired males should indicate higher-quality habitat. We broadcast yellow warbler first-category singing mode, second-category singing mode, and silent controls at sites in Illinois. Yellow warblers were more abundant at sites treated with second-category singing mode compared other sites. Our results demonstrate that yellow warblers use social cues informing successful pairing over other types of social cues to select breeding habitat.

  • Ahlering M.A., Arlt D., Betts M.G., Fletcher R.J. Jr., Nocera J.J., Ward M.P. (2010). Research needs and recommendations for the use of conspecific attraction methods in the conservation of migratory songbirds. — Condor 112: 252-264.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Alessi M.G., Benson T.J., Ward M.P. (2010). Nocturnal social cues attract migrating yellow-breasted chats. — Wilson J. Ornithol. 122: 780-783.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anders A., Marshall M. (2005). Increasing the accuracy of productivity and survival estimates in assessing landbird population status. — Conserv. Biol. 19: 66-74.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Andrews J.E., Brawn J.D., Ward M.P. (2015). When to use social cues: conspecific attraction at newly created grasslands. — Condor 117: 297-305.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arlt D., Pärt T. (2007). Nonideal breeding habitat selection: a mismatch between preference and fitness. — Ecology 88: 792-801.

  • Balsby T.J., Dabelsteen T. (2005). Simulated courtship interactions elicit neighbor intrusion in the whitethroat Sylvia communis. — Anim. Behav. 69: 161-168.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bankwitz K., Thompson W. (1979). Song characteristics of the yellow warbler. — Wilson Bull. 91: 533-550.

  • Beebee M. (2002). Song sharing by yellow warblers differ between two modes of singing: implications for song function. — Condor 104: 146-155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beebee M. (2004). The functions of multiple singing modes: experimental tests in yellow warblers, Dendroica petechia. — Anim. Behav. 67: 1089-1097.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beecher M., Campbell S., Burt J., Hill C., Nordby J. (2000). Song-type matching between neighboring song sparrows. — Anim. Behav. 59: 21-27.

  • Betts M.G., Hadley A.S., Rodenhouse N., Nocera J.J. (2008). Social information trumps vegetation structure in breeding-site selection by a migrant songbird. — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. 275: 2257-2263.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown C., Brown M., Danchin E. (2000). Breeding habitat selection in cliff swallows: the effect of conspecific reproductive success on colony choice. — J. Anim. Ecol. 69: 133-142.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buxton V.L., Ward M.P., Sperry J.H. (2015). Use of chorus sounds for location of breeding habitat in 2 species of anuran amphibians. — Behav. Ecol. 26: 1111-1118.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buxton V.L., Ward M.P., Sperry J.H. (2017). Frog breeding pond selection in response to predators and conspecific cues. — Ethology 123: 397-404.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Byers B. (1996). Messages encoded in the songs of chestnut-sided warblers. — Anim. Behav. 52: 691-705.

  • Byers B., Kroodsma D. (2009). Female mate choice and songbird song repertoires. — Anim. Behav. 77: 13-22.

  • Catchpole C. (1983). Variation in the song of the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus in relation to mate attraction and territorial defence. — Anim. Behav. 31: 1217-1225.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chalfoun A.D., Martin T.E. (2010). Facultative nest patch shifts in response to nest predation risk in the Brewer’s sparrow: a “win-stay, lose-switch” strategy?Oecologia 163: 885-892.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cilimburg A.B., Lindberg M.S., Tewksbury J.J., Hejl S.J. (2002). Effects of dispersal on survival probability of adult yellow warblers (Dendroica petechia). — Auk 119: 778-789.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clark K., Robertson R. (1979). Spatial and temporal multi-species nesting aggregations in birds as anti-parasite and anti-predator defenses. — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 5: 359-371.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cody M. (1981). Habitat selection in birds — the roles of vegetation structure, competitors, and productivity. — Bioscience 31: 107-113.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Danchin E., Giraldeau L.-A., Valone T.J., Wagner R.H. (2004). Public information: from nosy neighbors to cultural evolution. — Science 305: 487-491.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doligez B., Cadet C., Danchin E., Boulinier T. (2003). When to use public information for breeding habitat selection? The role of environmental predictability and density dependence. — Anim. Behav. 66: 973-988.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Emmering Q.C., Schmidt K.A. (2011). Nesting songbirds assess spatial heterogeneity of predatory chipmunks by eavesdropping on their vocalizations. — J. Anim. Ecol. 80: 1305-1312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Farrell S.L., Morrison M.L., Campomizzi A.J., Wilkins R.N. (2012). Conspecific cues and breeding habitat selection in an endangered woodland warbler. — J. Anim. Ecol. 81: 1056-1064.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fickens M., Fickens W. (1965). Comparative ethology of the chestnut-sided warbler, yellow warbler, and American redstart. — Wilson Bull. 77: 363-375.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fickens M., Fickens W. (1970). Response of four warbler species to playback of their two song types. — Auk 87: 296-304.

  • Fletcher R.J. Jr. (2006). Emergent properties of conspecific attraction in fragmented landscapes. — Am. Nat. 168: 207-219.

  • Fletcher R.J. Jr., Miller C.W. (2008). The type and timing of social information alters offspring production. — Biol. Lett. 4: 482-485.

  • Fretwell S.D., Lucas H.L.J. (1970). On territorial behavior and other factors influencing habitat distribution in birds part 1 — theoretical development. — Acta Biotheor. 19: 16-36.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gordinho L.D.O., Matheu E., Hasselquist D., Neto J.M. (2015). Song divergence between subspecies of reed bunting is more pronounced in singing styles under sexual selection. — Anim. Behav. 107: 221-231.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Groschupf K. (1985). Changes in 5-striped sparrow song in intrasexual and intersexual contexts. — Wilson Bull. 97: 102-106.

  • Grunst A., Grunst M. (2014). Multiple sexual pigments, assortative social pairing, and genetic paternity in the yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia). — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 68: 1451-1463.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hobson K., Sealy S. (1989). Mate guarding in the yellow warbler Dendroica petechia. — Ornis Scand. 20: 241-249.

  • Hof D., Podos J. (2013). Escalation of aggressive vocal signals: a sequential playback study. — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. 280: 20131553.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holmes R., Marra P., Sherry T. (1996). Habitat-specific demography of breeding black-throated blue warblers (Dendroica caerulescens): implications for population dynamics. — J. Anim. Ecol. 65: 183-195.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holt R.D. (2009). Bringing the Hutchinsonian niche into the 21st century: ecological and evolutionary perspectives. — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106: 19659-19665.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hua F., Fletcher R.J. Jr., Sieving K., Dorazio R.M. (2013). Too risky to settle: avian community structure changes in response to perceived predation risk on adults and offspring. — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. 280. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2013.0762.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Humple D.L., Burnett R.D. (2010). Nesting ecology of yellow warblers (Dendroica petechia) in montane chaparral habitat in the northern Sierra Nevada. — West N. Am. Nat. 70: 355-363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jane S., Ryker L. (2011). Geographic variation in type I songs of black-throated gray warblers. — Wilson J. Ornithol. 123: 339-346.

  • Kelly J.K., Schmidt K.A. (2017). Fledgling calls are a source of social information for conspecific, but not heterospecific, songbird territory selection. — Ecosphere 8. DOI:10.1002/ecs2.1512.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kokko H., Gunnarsson T., Morrell L., Gill J. (2006). Why do female migratory birds arrive later than males?J. Anim. Ecol. 75: 1293-1303.

  • Koops M.A. (2004). Reliability and the value of information. — Anim. Behav. 67: 103-111.

  • Kroodsma D., Bereson R., Byers B., Minear E. (1989). Use of song types by the chestnut-sided warbler — evidence for both intra-sexual and inter-sexual functions. — Can. J. Zool. 67: 447-456.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kroodsma D., Byers B., Goodale E., Johnson S., Liu W.-C. (2001). Pseudoreplication in playback experiments, revisited a decade later. — Anim. Behav. 61: 1029-1033.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lecchini D. (2011). Visual and chemical cues in habitat selection of sepioid larvae. — C.R. Biol. 334: 911-915.

  • Lohr B., Ashby S., Wakamiya S. (2013). The function of song types and song components in grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum). — Behaviour 150: 1085-1106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lowther P.E., Celada C., Klein N.K., Rimmer C.C., Spector D.A. (1999). Yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia). — In: The birds of North America ( Rodewald P.G., ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. DOI:10.2173/bna.454.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lozano G.A., Perreault S., Lemon R.E. (1996). Age arrival date and reproductive success of male American redstarts Setophaga ruticilla. — J. Avian Biol. 27: 164-170.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Martin T. (2001). Abiotic vs. biotic influences on habitat selection of coexisting species: climate change impacts?Ecology 82: 175-188.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matthysen E. (2005). Density-dependent dispersal in birds and mammals. — Ecography 28: 403-416.

  • Mayer C., Pasinelli G. (2013). New support for an old hypothesis: density affects extra-pair paternity. — Ecol. Evol. 3: 694-705.

  • Morse D. (1966). Context of songs in the yellow warbler. — Wilson Bull. 78: 444-455.

  • Murkin H., Murkin E., Ball J. (1997). Avian habitat selection and prairie wetland dynamics: a 10-year experiment. — Ecol. Appl. 7: 1144-1159.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nocera J., Forbes G., Giraldeau L. (2006). Inadvertent social information in breeding site selection of natal dispersing birds. — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. 273: 349-355.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parejo D., White J., Clobert J., Dreiss A., Danchin E. (2007). Blue tits use fledgling quantity and quality as public information in breeding site choice. — Ecology 88: 2373-2382.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pärt T., Arlt D., Doligez B., Low M., Qvarnstrom A. (2011). Prospectors combine social and environmental information to improve habitat selection and breeding success in the subsequent year. — J. Anim. Ecol. 80: 1227-1235.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Proppe D., Ritchison G. (2008). Use and possible functions of the primary and sustained songs of male grasshopper sparrows. — Am. Midl. Nat. 160: 1-6.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raitanen J., Forsman J.T., Kivela S.M., Maenpaa M.I., Valimaki P. (2014). Attraction to conspecific eggs may guide oviposition site selection in a solitary insect. — Behav. Ecol. 25: 110-116.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reed J., Dobson A. (1993). Behavioral constraints and conservation biology — conspecific attraction and recruitment. — Trends Ecol. Evol. 8: 253-256.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reichard D., Anderson R. (2015). Why sing softly? The structure, function and evolutionary significance of low-amplitude signals. — Anim. Behav. 105: 253-265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Richmond S., Nol E., Burke D. (2011). Avian nest success, mammalian nest predator abundance, and invertebrate prey availability in a fragmented landscape. — Can. J. Zool. 89: 517-528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rodenhouse N.N., Holmes R.T. (1992). Results of experimental and natural food reductions for breeding black-throated blue warblers. — Ecology 73: 357-372.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenzweig M.L. (1973). Habitat selection experiments with a pair of coexisting heteromyid rodent species. — Ecology 54: 111-117.

  • Rousseau J.S., Savard J.L., Titman R. (2015). Shrub-nesting birds in urban habitats: their abundance and association with vegetation. — Urban Ecosyst. 18: 871-884.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rudolf V., Rödel M. (2005). Oviposition site selection in a complex and variable environment: the role of habitat quality and conspecific cues. — Oecologia 142: 316-325.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rushing C.S., Dudash M.R., Marra P.P. (2015). Habitat features and long-distance dispersal modify the use of social information by a long-distant migratory bird. — J. Anim. Ecol. 84: 1469-1479.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schielzeth H. (2010). Simple means to improve the interpretability of regression coefficients. — Meth. Ecol. Evol. 1: 103-113.

  • Schmidt K. (2004). Site fidelity in temporally correlated environments enhances population persistence. — Ecol. Lett. 7: 176-184.

  • Scott M.L., Whiting M.J., Webb J.K., Shine R. (2013). Chemosensory discrimination of social cues mediates space use in snakes, Cryptophis nigrescens (Elapidae). — Anim. Behav. 85: 1493-1500.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Searcy W., Beecher M. (2009). Song as an aggressive signal in songbirds. — Anim. Behav. 78: 1281-1292.

  • Searcy W., Akçay C., Nowicki S., Beecher M. (2014). Aggressive signaling in song sparrows and other songbirds. — Adv. Stud. Behav. 46: 89-125.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seppänen J., Forsman J.T., Mönkkönen M., Thomson R.L. (2007). Social information use is a process across time, space, and ecology, reaching heterospecifics. — Ecology 88: 1622-1633.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spector D. (1991). The singing behavior of yellow warblers. — Behaviour 117: 29-52.

  • Spector D. (1992). Wood-warbler song systems. A review of paruline singing behaviors. — Curr. Ornithol. 9: 199-238.

  • Spector D., McKim L., Kroodsma D. (1989). Yellow warblers are able to learn songs and situations in which to use them. — Anim. Behav. 38: 723-725.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Staicer C. (1996). Acoustical features of song categories of the Adelaide’s warbler (Dendroica adelaidae). — Auk 113: 771-783.

  • Stamps J. (1988). Conspecific attraction and aggregation in territorial species. — Am. Nat. 131: 329-347.

  • Stamps J., Krishnan V. (2005). Nonintuitive cue use in habitat selection. — Ecology 86: 2860-2867.

  • Stewart R.L.M., Francis C.M., Massey C. (2002). Age-related differential timing of spring migration within sexes in passerines. — Wilson Bull. 114: 264-271.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Szymkowiak J. (2013). Facing uncertainty: how small songbirds acquire and use social information in habitat selection process?Springer Sci. Rev. 1: 115-131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Szymkowiak J., Thomson R., Kuczyński L. (2016). Wood warblers copy settlement decisions of poor quality conspecifics: support for the tradeoff between the benefit of social information use and competition avoidance. — Oikos 125: 1561-1569.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Titus R. (1998). Short-range and long-range songs: use of two acoustically distinct song classes by dark-eyed juncos. — Auk 115: 386-393.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Valone T., Templeton J. (2002). Public information for the assessment of quality: a widespread social phenomenon. — Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. B: Biol. Sci. 357: 1549-1557.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Valone T.J. (2007). From eavesdropping on performance to copying the behavior of others: a review of public information use. — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 62: 1-14.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ward M.P. (2005). Habitat selection by dispersing yellow-headed blackbirds: evidence of prospecting and the use of public information. — Oecologia 145: 1432-1939.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ward M.P., Schlossberg S. (2004). Conspecific attraction and the conservation of territorial songbirds. — Conserv. Biol. 18: 519-525.

  • Weary D., Lemon R., Perreault S. (1994a). Different responses to different song types in American redstarts. — Auk 111: 730-734.

  • Weary D., Lemon R., Perreault S. (1994b). Male yellow warblers vary use of song types depending on pairing status and distance from nest. — Auk 111: 727-729.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Westneat D.F., Sherman P.W. (1997). Density and extra-pair fertilizations in birds: a comparative analysis. — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 41: 205-215.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Westneat D.F., Stewart I.R.K. (2003). Extra-pair paternity in birds: causes, correlates, and conflict. — Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol Syst. 34: 365-396.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yezerinac S.M., Weatherhead P.J. (1997). Extra-pair mating, male plumage coloration and sexual selection in yellow warblers (Dendroica petechia). — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. 264: 527-532.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yezerinac S.M., Weatherhead P.J., Boag P.T. (1996). Cuckoldry and lack of parentage-dependent paternal care in yellow warblers: a cost–benefit approach. — Anim. Behav. 52: 821-832.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 181 93 17
Full Text Views 162 3 1
PDF Downloads 8 1 0