Female songbirds’ songs, new research

This video from North America says about itself:

9 Feb 2009

This female Blue Jay was perched on a branch overlooking my patio, and amusing me with beautiful vocal skills.

From Nature:

Female song is widespread and ancestral in songbirds

Karan J. Odom,Michelle L. Hall, Katharina Riebel, Kevin E. Omland & Naomi E. Langmore

04 March 2014


Bird song has historically been considered an almost exclusively male trait, an observation fundamental to the formulation of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection. Like other male ornaments, song is used by male songbirds to attract females and compete with rivals. Thus, bird song has become a textbook example of the power of sexual selection to lead to extreme neurological and behavioural sex differences.

Here we present an extensive survey and ancestral state reconstruction of female song across songbirds showing that female song is present in 71% of surveyed species including 32 families, and that females sang in the common ancestor of modern songbirds. Our results reverse classical assumptions about the evolution of song and sex differences in birds. The challenge now is to identify whether sexual selection alone or broader processes, such as social or natural selection, best explain the evolution of elaborate traits in both sexes.

‘Teenage’ songbirds experience high mortality due to many causes, study finds: here.

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1 thought on “Female songbirds’ songs, new research

  1. Pingback: African penguin language, new research, videos | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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